Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Z is for...


Have you ever been in a zoo after the zoo closed its gates? Well, if you ever get the chance, don't just sit around, move around and take your camera. Because for some reason all the animals behave completely different when there's nobody about! No pressure to 'perform' I guess.

Humboldt Penguin

In October 2009 I found myself in the zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands. A zoo with a history. The owner personally shot his animals when the Germans invaded the Netherlands (nobody seemed to want to have lions and tigers roaming free), but saved a few polar bear cubs. And lately they've established a bear zone. Not with wild bears, but with the bears that were rescued from dancing in the streets or from 'medical' purposes, ie being locked in a tiny cage and having their bile removed every day: painful and stupid.

Rescued bear looking out into his new world of relative freedom

Like many zoos around the world, their main goal nowadays isn't showing off animals in tiny cages, but education, preservation and breeding. That's why most zoos nowadays don't have the full range of animals anymore, especially if they have space issues. Having three types of animals in nice large pens or enclosures or ten types of animals in small cages...

Baby Barbary Macaque

Anyway, after the gates closed I was still in the zoo. On purpose, since the group I had driven had a special arrangement. But it meant I was able to look closely at some of the animals, for example those bears! They came out and were a lot more active. And the polar bears were more playful and behaved like a family of teens.

For more Z-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

Photos taken in October 2009 in Ouwehands Dierenpark Rhenen, the Netherlands


  1. For some reason I am pleased to know this.

  2. Wow! A backstage pass to the zoo. Sounds awesome.

    An Arkies Musings

  3. Wow, lucky you. I'm SO jealous. Can I say I know you? LOL
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  4. An interesting post and great to see these animals in circumstances that are not so tense for them.

  5. Great Z! They have sleepovers at the zoos in my area- I'd love to do that someday

  6. zoos are certainly different than when I was a kid and definitely for the better.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  7. That is one wild Zoo Bus....Lots of color and fun.

    Your bed in the post below, looks very inviting. Nothing feels better than freshly ironed sheets.

    Sweet Dreams.

  8. Never go to the zoo in the middle of the day. All the activity is in the evening. I don't even go to the cat shelter until late afternoon, otherwise I will wake them from their peaceful naps.

  9. Looks like Zoo is the favorite posting for the letter Z. That includes me. You have some great photos! Keep on clicking!

  10. Interesting. Watchers must make them uneasy...?

  11. That must have been awesome. I don't think I will ever get that opportunity unless I hide somewhere until they close.


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!