Sunday, October 05, 2008

A day at the Singapore Zoological Gardens

I had a whale of a time today with my dear at the Singapore Zoo.

Admission per adult is priced at $18 (increased from the previous price of $16.50). Optional unlimited tram ride is at $5 per person. We settled for the bundled package of $23 (the ride+ the journey) per person.

It has been indeed many years since I set foot on our Singapore Zoo, the previous visit was during my primary school days. My dear and I came early today for the visit as soon as the zoo opened at 8.30 am in order to beat the unrelentless afternoon sun.

There was a host of animals to treat our eyes to at the zoo. The first animal which welcomed us was the white tiger:

There were three of them but only one active white tiger which pranced up and down for the entire of our stay in the zoo! It must be frolicking in the attention given by the scores of visitors to it or simply it was uneasy or just guarding its terriority routinely. But why is there only the white tiger? Where is the colorful Sumatran tiger with its nice black and orange coatings? Or was the tiger we saw the Sumatran tiger, with its normal black stripes and complexion being destroyed by the sun-rays of our hot climate, faded into white? (just a joke)

We visited almost all the animals at the zoo and out of all these animals, there were definitely some who I loved more.

1) Inuka, the polar bear, one of the signature animals to see at the zoo:

I still remember Inuka was the name chosen from a few hundreds of entries in the competition to give baby Inuka a name roughly ten years back when I was in primary school. A cub then, now Inuka was a full growth adult! I then realised how fast time has past... I am also old already, and now is already October, two more months and it will be next year! It was only today that I learnt polar bears have black skin, covered with white fur.... I have always taken for granted that polar bears have white fur and pale pink skin!

Girafees are certainly the most interesting animals around, I find them oddly interesting-looking.

It was only till today that during the watching of the live feeding of the giraffes that I witnessed how long, black and powerful the tongues of the giraffes are, being able to twist and grab the carrots held in the hands of the feeders.

Gibbons, chimpanzees, orang-utans, proboscis monkeys and baboons are among some of the primates I saw today in the 'Primate kingdom' of the zoo. When I was at the orang-utan exhibits, the orang-utans seemed very sad and quiet, as though they were still griefing over the death of Ah Meng, their grandmother. I realised how HUGE an orang-utan was when I watched one through a glass panel. The orang-utan had its back stuck to the glass panel so that what separated me from the primate was that sheet of glass panel. From behind, the primate looked like a huge huge man, just covered in layers of fur. When the primate lied, face down to the ground, the furry huge animal became an instant mat of fur to me! Never in my life had I come so close to an orang-utan and to be feel intimated at the sheer size of the mammal!

Chimpanzees are the more playful primates I see in today's visit or have I been brainwashed by the movies on this animal?

Haha, I find gibbons with their long arms,looks and their swinging posture not really aesthetic. I do find baboons more interesting with their red bums. The first time I witnessed a tribe of red-bum baboons spanning 3 or 4 generations, living together in a relatively large comfortable enclosure. With so many generations living under one roof, conflicts are bound to happen, like human beings and to validate our beliefs, we witnessed some minor fights among the primates. But most of the times, these primates live in harmony with each other:

Baboos are not the only primates with colorful bums. Proboscis monkeys' bums are more colourful, taking on the hues like the rainbow.

Of all the cats, besides the tiger, I love the mightly lion the Best! The lion seems proud and does not greet face-on with the visitors. The lion we see has the majestic air of might which visitors do respect.

Jaguars are alright to me, though today was the first time witnessing a black jaguar; intially I though it was a black puma:

Overall, we covered almost the whole of the Singapore Zoo and took 2 tram rides around the zoo. By lunch-time, having almost done with the visit, we proceeded back to take the bus to have our lunch. Lunch at the Singapore Zoo is expensive, with a 500 ml of Coke, costing an incredible $3.00 !

To sum it all, Singapore places of attractions are interesting and excellent, but their high prices may deter Singaporeans from coming back again to visit. (anyway Singaporeans nornally come just once or twice to the same place of interest). With the hot and humid climate of Singapore, it is challenging for Singaporeans, to navigate these open-space places of interest, especially more so for the senior citizens. Within minutes of basking under the hot sun, one will get stickily damp all over the body with the sweat, thus I would advise visitors to places of interest to come early to these places, like what we did today. Coming early, one can not only avoid the hot afternoon sun, taking photographs will be a tad easier with the fewer throngs of people.

With the hot and humid climate, it also seems normal that Singaporeans would head to shopping centre on weekends too.

Overall, today's visit, was a very interesting and informative one, having brought back home, precious memories of our memories at the Zoo (my dear and I of course), as well as snippets of knowledge about the animals.

On another side thought, I wonder whether the animals feel it a torture to be confined in a limited space or is it a blessing not to worry about hunting for food everyday and having being cared for?

Like human, too much comfort can be a harm too, like a spoilt child, a Zoo animal once released into the wild, will most likely lose its basic skills of survival, to hunt, to run from their predators......I feel like I am waxing philosophical again about a simple visit to the Zoo.. think it must be my sleep bug catching up on me, and with this, I am now going to sleep......hopefully I will not be dreaming of facing the lions or swimming with the polar bears!

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