Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE going to the Zoo? One of my Fondest memories is kidnapping my friend Claudine from the Nursing Home and taking her to the Oklahoma City Zoo. The highlight of that day was getting to see the New, Baby Asian Elephant -- Malee, which is a Thai word for Flower or Jasmine.
Today's highlight was the Zoo in Perth. It was an AWESOME Day!! I had expected to see - Maybe! -- Galapagos Turtles, and they were there. But to my surprise, there were also Red Eared Sliders, just like my Little Sparky at home!! They were with the American Alligators next to the Sun Bear exhibit.
This picture shows a good view of the red stripe that gives the Species it's name. The Red Color fades as the turtle gets older. For comparison, the Turtle on the top of this stack is about the same size as Sparky was when I found him. The Middle Turtle is about the size he is now. The bottom one is approximately the size of a Full Grown Red Eared Slider. He will require about a 50 gallon Aquarium for his home. I am saving Quarters for that!!
In the Wild the Slider has been declared a "Pest" They are aggressive and compete with Native Turtles and Tortoises for Food and Territory. They were introduced to Australia through the Illegal Pet Trade.
Red Eared Sliders retract their heads straight back in to their shells unlike Native Turtles and Tortoises which wrap their heads around the outside of their shells. They have very few natural predators and have been declared one of the "Top 100 World's Worst" invaders as determined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It is considered a major threat to biodiversity. That makes me kind of sad.
The Western Swamp Tortoise is the Most Endangered reptile in Australia. Since 1989 the Perth Zoo has bred more than 800 Western Swamp Tortoises. 600 of them have been released into managed habitats by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation to boost their numbers in the wild.
There is Video on the Perth Zoo website of 2 of the Babys hatching. I do not know how to link the Video here, but it shouldn't be hard to find if you want to see for yourself.
After the Turtles I went on to the New Sun Bears Exhibit. Sponsors, Local Businesses, and Members of the Community have worked hard with the Perth Zoo's Project Sun Bear to raise over $330,000 to build the Home for 2 Sun Bears -- Jamran & Bopha -- that were rescued from Cambodia. Habitat destruction and poaching are major threats to the Sun Bear in the wild. In many Asian Cultures Bear Paw Soup is a delicacy. Jamran and Bopha were illegally captured as cubs and held in an abusive situation until they were rescued by the Bears Fund Sanctuary and cared for until their New Home in Perth was ready for them. They arrived in 2011 and became part of the Australasian Breeding Program.
Their first cub was named Maly -- Pronounced Mahlee, it is Cambodian for "Blossom". If "Maly" sounds familiar, remember the Baby Elephant at the Oklahoma City Zoo? Her name is Malee.
The Sun Bears get their name from the large Rising Sun Shaped Patch on their chest. Their tongue can protrude up to 25cm. It is used to extract Grubs, Honey, and other food from holes and crevices. They also put their paws into Termite Nests. When the termites crawl on to the Bear's paw, they are licked off.
Their are several Bird exhibits around the Zoo, but I found a sweet reminder of Claudine in the Birds of The SouthWest Aviary. The Purple Crowned Lorikeet is the same bird (I think) that was in the Children's petting Zoo at Oklahoma City. I pushed Claudine's wheel chair into their large aviary and she got to feed them. I cannot find the Picture right now but I will keep looking for it. I did read on one website that Purple Crowned Lorikeets are rarely seen in captivity outside of Australia, so I have no idea how - Or IF!! - they are related to the ones we saw in Oklahoma City.
They generally are found in small groups but do occasionally congregate in large flocks. They dwell mainly in the Forest Canopy high above the ground.
The purple crown that gives the Bird it's name does not appear until they are Mature. Young Lorikeets are much less vibrantly colored than the Adults. In the wild they are threatened by destruction of their habitat and by competition for food from the larger, more aggressive Rainbow Lorikeet.
My next stop was the Australian Wetlands Exhibit. That is where I found the Black Swan. I don't think I have ever seen anything other than a White Swan.
Black Swans mate for life, and reunite every year to breed. Both parents care for the young --called Cygnets. The babys stay with the parents for a long time.
Swans are the largest of the waterfowl, their necks are longer than their bodys.
They are Black, except for white wing quills and their beaks which are broad a bright red. When not mating, they form large flocks.
There are several Fast Food options at the Zoo, and I have to admit I was tempted by the Ice Cream Bar at the Velluto, which also offers a great variety of Teas and Coffee. They also offered a Chorizo Pizza, Beer, Wine, and Champagne if you are Over 18. Knowing that I was going to see the Wine Bar at some time I chose not to have alcohol at the Zoo.
I did enjoy a large Roasted Sweet Potato Apple & Spinach Salad at the Meerkat Café. It is made with Sweet Potato (also called 'Kumara'), Fresh Spinach, Granny Smith Apple Slices, Red Onion slices, Crumbled Feta Cheese, and a sprinkle of PineNuts. It is usually served with a Balsamic Vinegar dressing or Lemon Juice, but I prefer my Salads dry. The apple slices and onion gives it enough moisture for my taste. The cup of Green Tea was the Perfect accompaniment!!
While I was eating I watched children just across from the dining area riding the Carousel. The waitress told me that the carousel has been at the Zoo since 1947. It originally had 20 Horses and 2 Boats. In 1968 the Boats were removed and replaced by 4 Horses, making the ride a "True Carousel". Merry-Go-Rounds typically feature a menagerie of Animals and Boats while a True Carousel includes only Horses. Fewer than 200 Carousels are known to survive worldwide, and most of those are in America. The Perth Zoo Carousel is the ONLY Known Carousel or Merry-Go-Round Structure still in permanent use in Western Australia and permanently installed.
In the Taxi on the way back to the Apartment I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open! I was so stiff when I got out of the Taxi, the Driver asked if I needed help. No, I just needed a Hot Bath and a Long Sleep!! To quote my Friend Claudine when we were headed home from the Oklahoma City Zoo that day, "I am pooped, but it is a Good Poop!"