journal

Monarto Safari Park

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.

(A fun fact about kangaroos in Australia: they are everywhere. Footage in the ghost towns at the height of COVID lockdowns showed one bounding through the city.)

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.

…and:

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.

A sculpture of a flailing rhino. The artist made this to warn that if we don’t protect their numbers from poachers, they will go “belly up”.

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?

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26 thoughts on “Monarto Safari Park

  1. Glad you could fit in an expedition to the safari zoo between work and classes! As a veterinary technician/nurse, I’ve had lots of wildlife encounters. I’ve cleaned the teeth on a cougar, done wound management on a lemur, worked with a variety of monkeys, dealt with snakes, turtles, frogs and fish. Held a lion, been “adopted” by a llama, chased by a goose, ridden a sheep (not on purpose), and trapped woodchucks, squirrels, chipmunks, and accidently a skunk…. I have stories. But this isn’t the place to tell them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe, I went to Monarto on a final day off before uni started but hadn’t got round to posting.

      This is so awesome, sounds like so much fun and so fulfilling! I think I wouldn’t mind being adopted by a llama.

      Like

  2. What a fun adventure! I haven’t visited a zoo in ages (my last visit was at the world-renown San Diego Zoo, as well as Sea World). My faves were always the big cats. So beautiful and so dangerous (I think all domestic cats dream of being beautiful and dangerous instead of cute and cuddly). Wildlife? I grew up on a farm that had an occasional black bear, cougars, foxes, coyotes, a wolf now and then, wild dogs, bobcats, various raptors, and an army of chipmunks and squirrels and rabbits (and others as well). I was attacked by an allegedly domesticated alpaca at my sister’s mini-farm once. What a surreal experience that was (I refer to it as my “alpac-attack-a”). 😀 I’ve seen gray whales off the coast of Cape Blanco, Oregon, bison in the Colorado plains, wild turkeys at Devils Tower in Wyoming, deer and elk on the family farm, moose, bears and eagles in Wyoming, mountain goats in Montana, antelope and big horn sheep in Utah, rattlesnakes (one snake is one too many), and lots of other creatures. I love animals and I appreciate efforts by conservationist groups to protect and care for them. Oh, I saw Keiko, the killer whale from the Free Will movie, at the Oregon Coast Aquarium many years ago. It was both glorious and heart-breaking, seeing this majestic whale penned up, his dorsal fin drooping. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, and best of luck with your studies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Thanks for sharing Mike, what cool stories. I love “alpaca-attack-a”! When I see the word raptor I think of dinosaurs. Dolphins and whales are much too smart to be in enclosures for our viewing pleasure, I agree.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dr B says:

    About 20 years ago we spent a month in South Africa and naturally….. spent time in the Kruger Park, a couple of trips in open jeeps gave us great views. Another trip was in Kwazulu Natal, including a night safari! Great experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I live in a small town in New England with a lot of woods and forest. During the lockdown I witnessed a few random animals walking up and down the streets. I saw a really fat wild turkey one time that blew my mind. At one point in time there was a bear sighting, but I have never seen it. I did see a lot of deer, though. One time I sited a buck walking by the mailbox.

    I am glad that Monarto Safari Park is a lot more open as animals need a lot more space to roam around and play. When my family had a cat, we felt really bad trying to keep him indoors, so we let him run around the neighborhood all the time . . . . for better or worse, haha.

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