Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Perfect Zoo Enclosure - 9 Nov 2012

Posting by Xian Jin

We joined a homeschooling group to the Zoo Negara for the Malaysian endangered animal programme. The endangered animals included the orang utans, tapirs, Malayan tigers, elephants and hornbills. This programme explained the unique physical characteristics of animals. The zookeeper also told us of the animals' diet, behaviour, the habitats they live in, the population of the animals in the wild and the conservation efforts to save our endangered friends.

The Malayan tapirs are black and white in colour. A tapir has a large stocky body and a flexible proboscis (nose). A young tapir looks like a watermelon for camouflage, after six months they will be like their parents. Did you know that tapirs sleep in the day and are active at night? 

The hornbill has a casque above its beak. The male hornbill hunts food for the whole family. Therefore if a poacher kills a male hornbill, it is like killing the whole family as the female hornbill does not go out to hunt for food. An interesting fact is that the female hornbill actually sheds its feathers to warm the chicks. 

 There are no more elephant shows now because the zoo wants to educate us about animals and conservation rather than using animals like in a circus to entertain us.

We fed an elephant with sugar canes. The elephant swayed its legs side by side to attract our attention to feed him. He ate it in one gulp.

The zookeeper told us that the population of certain animals were decreasing because many human activities are destroying their habitats. Many organizations are helping conserve these animals before it is too late.

The snare trap is a popular trap for tigers. The animal's leg gets stuck in the trap but the animal does not have hands like us to release itself. The more it struggles, the more the trap will hurt the animal. The animal will either die of dehydration, hunger or pain. This is a cruel way to hunt for animals. One of us tried out the trap and it was painful. This was just a replica of the real trap because it's against the law to use it.

We visited the well known orang utan. We compared the sizes of the young and adult orang utans' handprints. There was a huge difference. The size of our palms was just the size of a young orang utan. We tried out a coat which was a replica of the size of an adult orang utan. You could see that the length of our hands was not even half the length of the orang utan's hands. 

Like tigers, the orang utans are solitary animals, which means that they hunt and live alone. They can live up to 50 years. Did you know that the childhood of an orang utan is very long and the mother takes care of the young for 8 years? 

Along the trail, we saw bats. They looked weird hanging upside down. Bats are the only mammals which can fly. We saw the binturong, also known as the bearcat. It could balance itself on a long thin pole without any difficulty. There were also many other animals such as sea lions, birds, penguins.......

A beautiful pose by Mr and Mrs Pelican

There were hundreds of storks, pelicans, egrets, herons and many other birds around the lake in the zoo. These birds could fly freely in and out of the zoo. They would always come back during feeding time. Some of them even build nests there.

At 12.30 pm, it was feeding time. The zookeeper pushed out a wheelbarrow of small fish. We had a fun time feeding them. As we fed them, the zookeeper from the other side of the lake would blow the whistle and the storks would fly to the other side. The storks went to and fro the lake following the sound of the whistle. It was a fascinating sight.

On our way back, we passed by a deer enclosure. We saw that the food given to the deer was the same as the leaves outside so we took the leaves and fed them. I guess that the deer were bored so they ate them. We were tired but enjoyed every single moment of our visit.

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