I love animals

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hi :)

This afternoon I'm going to a Lolita meeting in our local Zoo! The Lisbon Zoo is one of the best in Europe, we've successfully bred many difficult species due to the extreme care and the great weather conditions we have here at the capitol. We also had a baby whale at some point, it was a few years back that he was caught on the shore, lost, without his mother. The survival rate for such whale infants in captivity is very very low, but this cute and cuddly baby whale, who they named "Nazaré", was monitored everyday, bottle fed, nurtured and cleaned with the utmost care :) He was very happy! I used to "babysit" Nazaré when I was a volunteer at the zoo. I went there from 8a.m. (the zoo opens at 10a.m.) to lunch time every Saturday, and I had to monitor his breath frequency, help preparing the food, warm it, put it in the bottles and help feeding through the tube! His food was a smelly gooey fishy porridge, but it kinda looked yummy ahah! Sometimes I didn't want to wake up that early on a weekend morning and just sleep and sleep, but when I got there and played with the whale it was very fun, I would sing to him and he would stay still near me, he would roll and belly up so I could cuddle his belly, and he even had tickles under his fins! It was really cute, and I have many fun memories of that infant :) I think they released him in the sea when he was ready and never made public that he was there in the Zoo, in a water tank away from the dolphins.
Nazaré is a Pilot Whale, one like this:

He had the cutest nose! x3 I miss cuddling him, he had such soft skin... I also volunteered at the Farm Animals place, the Dolphin Bay and the Birds Giant Cage! The Farm Animals were a handful, always had lots of work, but it was fun to guide the children and make them feel comfortable enough to pet the goats or the cow! The Giant Bird Cage was very fun as well, it's a cage like this

But in giant form! It's about 5 or 6 meters high,  and the birds roam free inside, you have there lots of different species, from parrots to toucans! What I did there was feed the birdies with fruit (I had to stick the fruit in the tree branches so it's more natural) and a fruity porridge they loved! I also had to guide the visitors and just be friendly :) You can walk in the cage and the birds are flying past you, above you, I used to make a parrot or two come to my arm and then transfer it to a visitor, or put a grain of their dry food in my mouth and the toucan would gently reach for it with his beak, not even touching my lips! Seems scary but it was very fun and rewarding because of the bonding experience ^^ I miss those days, I hope I can volunteer more in the future :)

(Dolphin Show at Dolphin Bay)

You might be wondering how I love animals so much and like working/visiting a Zoo. There is nothing more rewarding than to make other happy, or in this case, animals happy and comfortable. Well our Zoo was really old and decrepit until a few years ago. They remodeled all of the old parts and transfered some of the species to new homes. I understand animal rights and they shouldn't be kept in captivity and so on, but believe me, when it comes to our Zoo it's really one of the best and I stand up for it. The animals are really happy and lively, as I worked on the inside I know some keepers and they really care for them as their children, the animals are their life. They're well fed, well housed and the Zoo has a Vet Hospital on top, so if there is any emergency the hospital is right there :)
Just so you can see the difference, these were the old cages the gorillas were kept in, you can see it's a very small space with some logs and toys for them to keep busy, but not impressive in the matter of animal welfare...

With cages like these I totally understand why you wouldn't want to visit the Zoo.. but now their new homes have everything they might want :) Look!

They have grass, water, rivers, logs, nets, things to swing, lots of "toys", fruit, trees, they even have a waterfall! And the perimeter in not a barred cage, it's a natural looking wall resembling stone and some parts have glass so we can look and see their frolicking :P sometimes they even rest on those glassed parts and it's almost like we can touch them! They're not there for our entertainment, they are there just living and running around, most of the times they don't even notice humans, and we're privileged that we can watch them in their daily lives.

They also made new homes for the felines, not just the primates.
Like the primates, the felines were kept in cages as the above ones(except for the lions), the tigers, panthers, cheetahs and all, didn't have enough space to run or be calm and were always pacing.. not pretty to see :\
But now I'll show you an image of how they have their homes now! Like the primates they have grass, trees, rocks, all natural! And specially space to run, to lay down, to play :)

As you can see the photo dates from 2008, it's been a while since they started remodelling ^^ I'm very happy for the animals now, they look great and they look happy!

Well it's time to go! I'm late because I had lots of customers at work today >_<"
Bye bye, I'll post pictures in the next entry :)


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