I have never been to Africa, but I have been to Monarto Safari Park. It is the sister zoo of Adelaide Zoo, and about an hour’s drive, southeast from the CBD.
When you go in you have to brave a long dirt road where giant birds cross your path. Never forget you are facing the species that won The Emu War.
At the visitor’s centre you will be greeted with signage, souvenirs, and bugs. Oh there is a cafe too.
A Safari shuttle leaves the entrance every half an hour on a loop around the park. The zoo is about 1500 hectares of land, and they recommend allowing yourself 4-5 hours if you want to come for a day.
View from the bus.
The bus passes through a range of habitats. You’ll see a lot of hoofed animals like Mongolian Wild Horses and American Bisons and antelope and deer, or as a toddler was squealing behind me, “Bambi’s dad!!!”
Beyond these habitats are some nice cats:
I think across the world, people’s attitudes towards zoos can be rather varied. Some think they shouldn’t exist. Ultimately it depends on what the function of the zoo is. Monarto Zoo is part of an international network aimed at conserving threatened species. For instance, the Mongolian Wild Horses were extinct in the wild before they were reintroduced, which would have been impossible without reservoirs from our state.
The staff seem quite attuned to ethics too – for example, they would never release a prey animal for the predators to hunt, because in the enclosure the prey would not stand a chance.
So instead, beautiful critters like this cheetah get fed pre-killed meat only. The zookeepers have to work out other ways to keep the animals mentally engaged with enrichment, such as with toys and so on.
As another example, the chimpanzees get both an indoor and outdoor playground. Here are some babies tumbling inside on the hot day.
The chimpanzee centre was founded by none other than Dame Jane Goodall herself.
On another part of the loop you will meet some more superstars.
Fun fact: apparently the white rhino got its name from the mispronunciation of an African term for “wide mouthed”. Then the black rhino got its name because it wasn’t a white rhino.
Last but not least, here are some cute little meerkats.
This one is a reminder by the side of the road as you’re driving on the dirt road back out.
This blog post comes a little late after my previous one. Uni i.e. archaeology school has finally started! The requisite reading is super interesting and I will write about that when I have time. Officially juggling full-time work and part-time study now.
What are some of your experiences with wildlife?