|Lemurs + Tamarins = Best Birthday Ever!
||[Dec. 16th, 2009|01:56 pm]
On Sunday Kim and I went to the zoo for my somewhat belated birthday treat. But we did not only go to the zoo we went behind the zoo on a Zoom Tour. The first time we went, on my actual birthday, we were rained out and our second trip was cancelled due to my illness (I didn't want to risk infecting any cute little primates) but on Sunday the 13th we finally got to go on our tour and it was totally worth the wait. The day was lovely (and I remembered sunscreen!) which meant that while some zoo animals (including the keepers and other humans) were feeling a bit lazy in the heat the tamarins and lemurs were both out and about.
First we got taken through one of the back areas of the zoo to see the zoo kitchens and fetch mealworms for the Cottontop Tamarins. We were amused by signs and notes all over the many fridges like "Have you remembered to put out Doris' meat?" and "ONE banana per orang-utan". We also got to see the insect breeding rooms and the tarantula room! Then we were off to the back of the old polar bear enclosure to make our way in to meet the tamarins.
Our guide had been a keeper at the zoo for 19 years and still remembered the poor old polar bears so he told us about the history of their enclosure and how they were 'cared' for back in the day. It was quite sad and a stark contrast to the newer enclosures and the conservation focus of the modern zoo. The Cottontop Tamarins are now in the old breeding/separation quarter of the polar bear pit. We went in with our mealworms at the ready and we were swarmed! They were very curios not just about our treats but about our presence in general. They were amazing! We got right up close and saw their little faces - they have very strong bone structure and very intelligent little eyes. We were in there for quite a while even after they got sick of our snacks. And after they started to feel full they just jumped around us and investigated us. One even held my finger in his little hand!
Then while we were on our way to the lemurs we got to look in the newish giraffe house and said hello to the giraffes as well (from ground level rather than from above).
On our way to the lemurs we went underneath the rainforest area and got to see the privacy runs for the Spider Monkeys which run under the walkways. One of the spider monkeys came over to the door and reached out to us. The tour guide thought she would be interested in my hair but she was more interested in my shirt and hands. We also got to see the new gibbon who isn't out in the main enclosure yet! She was also very pretty - the boy gibbon hasn't met her yet but he can be heard calling for her from all over the zoo. We also got to see lots of the enrichment objects (which made us want to play zoo tycoon!) for the primates which was also very interesting.
Then it was off to the lemurs! We picked up our bananas from a portable zoo kitchen and then we were off. Lemur love was easily bought with mushie banana. Two of them even climbed up on Kim at one point. I also managed to break their enclosure by trying to feed three lemurs at once on a branch which then snapped! This resulted in some very cute confused lemur faces but I was soon forgiven when it was found I had more banana. We managed not to sing to the lemurs about moving anything.
Pictures can be found here.
In summery Kim wins at birthday! And I have no idea how I can even try to top this. It was totally amazing and I now want to move to Madagascar and be a professional lemur cuddler (even more than I did before)!