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FunkyGibbon's Chinese Takeaway

Discussion in 'Asia - General' started by FunkyGibbon, 23 Oct 2015.

  1. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member

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    There are many Hongkongers are complaining about the HKZBG and wanted that to be renovated.Also, lots of Hongkongers(include me) really wanted a new zoo(real zoo that has more animals) but the government doesn't do anything.
     
  2. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    Sounds interesting, and I have been very much enjoying your thread.
    And I would certainly be interested in a bird list. :)
     
  3. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Bird list will follow soon :)

    I bought a load of books for my summer trip this week. I thought I'd mention them here, and then people can either laugh or congratulate :p

    I spent about £100, which is roughly what my flight to Jakarta will cost. There were some other books I would have liked but you have to draw the line somewhere!

    First up is Birds of East Asia by Brazil. This won't be of any use on my trip, but frankly it's a little ridiculous that I don't own it given my current location. When I finally get around to travelling in China itself I will also buy a Field Guide to the Birds of China by MacKinnon, and Mammals of China (Pocket Guide) by Smith & Xie.

    For Indonesia I bought A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali by Mackinnon. Although both popular bird guides for Borneo alone (Phillips and Myers) come highly recommended, they were also expensive, and I couldn't justify the additional cost.

    For mammals I bought A Photographic Guide To Mammals Of South-East Asia by Francis. Not exhaustive but apparently the only guide for much of Indonesia. I also bought Phillipps' Guide to the Mammals of Borneo and Their Ecology. This was only released last month, so it is a speculative purchase, but the authors also wrote one of the Borneo bird books, to great acclaim. Even though the more established A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo by Francis would have been a safer choice I felt like rolling the dice a little, if only because I can write a small review of the guide on here for others' benefit.

    I also accidentally :)cool:) bought Naturalist's Guide to the Mammals of South-East Asia by Shepherd. I may not even have this shipped out to China if it doesn't compare favourably to Francis, but it was very cheap so that's ok. if anyone has advice that would specifically be helpful.

    For the last, and very much least, leg of my trip I bought The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds . Of the four major ones this seemed most suited to my needs. I do not intend to buy a mammal book for Australia, but I suppose I could be persuaded...

    If I have space I could take A Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia, by Francis, and Birds of Southeast Asia, both of which I already own, but I've read they will be of limited use in Indonesia.
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2016
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    some thoughts on the books:

    Birds of East Asia by Brazil is an excellent book. Use this one as much as you can in China.

    Field Guide to the Birds of China by MacKinnon and Mammals of China by Smith & Xie are both pretty rubbish but unfortunately all there is. The bird guide is hopeless, it is like trying to identify birds by a process of elimination until the only thing left must be what you saw. The mammal book looks great - until you actually have to use it to try and identify something! You do need both of them if travelling outside the scope of the Birds of East Asia but they don't make things easy.

    Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali by Mackinnon. This was what I used in western Indonesia and it works perfectly well. The only issue if in Borneo (and it isn't really an issue at all) is that obviously a lot of the birds in the book aren't in Borneo so when trying to arrive at an ID you need to spend longer sifting through the pictures to cull those ones out. It isn't a lot of use east of Wallace's Line though.

    A Photographic Guide To Mammals Of South-East Asia by Francis. I don't have this one but I've had a look through it. It is alright, it includes most of the commoner mammals you're likely to see I think. Generally speaking, mammals aren't that difficult to ID if you know what is there (and if you don't care about the bats and rats).

    Phillipps' Guide to the Mammals of Borneo and Their Ecology. I will be buying this one sooner or later. It is supposed to be excellent, and there are a few new splits in it (e.g. the Hose's langur group) - of course it follows the current trend, I think, of splitting everything possible.

    Naturalist's Guide to the Mammals of South-East Asia by Shepherd. I haven't seen this one "in the flesh". Both this one and the Francis photo guide are so small, though, that you could easily carry both of them with you without even noticing the weight.

    A Guide to the Mammals of Southeast Asia by Francis and Birds of Southeast Asia (by Robson I'm assuming?) - the bird guide is no good for Indonesia (although it is light and helpful for comparing a few of the overlapping species like swifts), and the mammal guide also isn't much use (most of the overlapping species you'd see would be obvious ones to ID anyway).


    I prefer Slater just because it is small and I like the illustrations (although not without their faults). Depending on where you are going and for how long, I would definitely recommend the mammal guide. Mammals are quite a bit easier to see there than in Asia, and there is a huge variety which can be confusing. The guide itself is quite slim and lightweight but illustrates every species. Are you going to give any hints as to where you might be going in Australia?
     
  5. LaughingDove

    LaughingDove Well-Known Member

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    I have the Mammals of China book, which is very interesting as a read at home, but didn't seem like a very good book as a field guide (though never actually used it). I was also rather tempted to get Mammals of Borneo and Their Ecology when it was advertised in the NHBS catalogue, but I haven't yet.

    I was curious about whether you keep a year list of the birds/mammals/anything else you see in the wild, and if you do I'd be interested in what your total is so far this year.
     
  6. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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    Keen to hear your thoughts on the Phillipps' Mammal's of Borneo book, fairly keen to get that too. Their bird book is excellent, with lots of little extra information, so hopefully the mammal one will be as interesting. The Bornean mammal book I bought (Payne & Francis) is very dry and functional.
     
  7. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Once again Chli your feedback is superb and so useful. Thanks so much.

    I'll be spending two weeks in Darwin and Melbourne. Darwin because it's near Bali, and it has Kakadu, and Melbourne because I love the city. Plus it is much cheaper to fly to Melbourne then Shanghai compared to direct from Darwin.

    I have records of the birds I saw in Vietnam, but in general I haven't kept a year list. I'll write about this more in due course, but although I enjoyed birdwatching I found it really difficult as a beginner. There are a load of skills I don't have. Getting clear views of birds in the jungle and ID them based on my notes being the two biggest ones. When I write up Cuc Phuong (soon) and Cat Tien I'll include lists, but they should be read in the context of my inexperience.

    The other issue is that when virtually every bird is unknown and probably a lifetick, getting anything else done becomes almost impossible. I found that I had to specifically not bird most days, otherwise it would have consumed my entire trip. When I have the experience to identify more things by eye I'm sure this become a lot more manageable.

    It has arrived in England and my younger sister (13 years) says the illustrations are very good. She also says it has a few photos and that she is concerned it is too heavy. It'll probably be at least a month before I get my hands on it. I'll share more thoughts then.
     
  8. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    Funkygibbon did you consider visiting Oceanpark in Hong Kong as they seem to have some interesting species like golden snub-nosed monkeys.
     
  9. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    maybe not worth spending your money on getting the mammal guide just for Darwin and Melbourne. There are some good mammals up top, but you won't see more than a few around Melbourne. The ones you do see in either location should be easy enough to determine without a field guide.
     
  10. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    If I had had more time I would have almost certainly done so, but I'm not so much of a fanatic that I would have spent my first and only day in HK there. It seems to have somewhat mixed reviews; I very much hope to go back for longer and I'm sure I'll visit then. No timeline for that yet though!
     
  11. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    These were very much my thoughts. I may return to the Dandenongs if that is do-able by public transport but otherwise Melbourne's nature watching will be limited to what I see in parks, the Zoo and maybe the Botanical Gardens.
     
  12. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    No-one in their right mind would go to the zoo today

    Is there a phrase more tempting to defy than this?

    Last weekend I visited Shanghai Zoo for the first time. I'm going to just touch on some aspects of my visit. If you want a full write-up, I would recommend Chli's thread here:

    http://www.zoochat.com/247/review-shanghai-zoo-340037/

    There have been some changes, mostly positive. But there are also some criticisms I'd like to highlight. For reasons I'll explain later I didn't visit almost half of the zoo.

    I had planned this trip for a couple of weeks, and so when it became obvious the weather was going to be abysmal I decided to push ahead regardless. Luckily I was meeting a friend for late breakfast before I headed to the zoo so I mostly avoided the literally torrential downpour that greeted me at the station. As it was I arrived at the zoo at about 12.30, in damp but swiftly improving conditions. The beauty of a day like this is that the crowds are put off but the animals are not, and so it proved to be.

    [​IMG]
    Mandrill Enclosure

    I first headed, with some trepidation having read Chli's review, straight for the Primate section. My 'target species' for the day was the Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys, and I wanted to avoid missing them. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. I have uploaded a lot of photos to the gallery, but it seems a lot has been improved since 2013. The macaques and mandrills are still in the same dire rows of cages, which are truly abysmal, but almost everything else was average or better. It seems that the outdoor enclosures of the rest of the section have been extended outwards, upwards, possibly merged sideways, and then heavily planted. This has completely transformed them compared to the old style still unfortunately extant elsewhere. The indoor areas for these exhibits were still cramped, but this is true for zoos worldwide I think. There are lots of other good enclosures to praise as well. Despite it being entirely concrete, I thought the baboon island with its variety of structures and furniture was a good for the large troop. The squirrel monkeys had a very large outdoor area with many trees, as did the ring-tailed lemurs, although theirs was a bit lawn-like for my taste (Why do zoos do this? It drives me mad. Let the grass grow a little!) The gorillas, Bornean orangutans and chimpanzees now all have large islands/walled enclosures which appear to be good (caveat approaching!). And the langur/snub-nosed monkey enclosures, expansive cages with planting, rockwork and climbing frames, were great as well.

    [​IMG]
    Chimpanzee Island

    The gorilla enclosure, featuring three reasonably sized indoor enclosures and two large outdoor areas with viewing through glass or over water, was designed with help from Rotterdam Zoo. I suspect this exhibit was a condition for Shanghai receiving animals from Rotterdam and elsewhere in Europe. The chimps were kept in three small indoor rooms, and appeared to be separated into small groups. There may well be some group dynamic problems. There were two juveniles tearing up a storm in one of them though. They have a reasonably sized island with low electric fencing around the edge. It has some climbing equipment, and some large trees that the animals have access to. I think there were 2.3 orangutans, housed as 1.0, 1.1, 0.2 in very similar indoor areas to the chimps. The orangutan outdoor area is part water-moated, part walled and larger than the chimps’. It also features a variety of large trees and other equipment. The orangutan indoor areas are spread across two buildings; possibly holding one of the males in the
    Chimpanzee House is a temporary measure, possibly not. In any case, both species clearly cannot share the outdoor space at the same time. For that matter, many of the subgroups of chimps or orangutans may not be able to share their outdoor enclosures, a problem that many zoos face of course.

    [​IMG]
    Orangutan Enclosure

    Here comes some negative commentary: throughout my visit none of the gorillas, chimps or orangs (or the squirrel monkeys) had access to their outdoor areas. Now there could lots of good reasons for this, but equally there may not. Certainly I would suggest that the orangutan enclosure is likely not capable of actually containing a diligent escape artist. Normally lack of access to outdoors would be unremarkable on a zoo visit, but I just got the feeling that perhaps these enclosures are never actually used. I can’t really say much more, because I don’t have any evidence, but I will be visiting again and if I see the same thing I will report it here. I certainly hope to see the apes using what appear to be excellent spaces.

    [​IMG]
    Golden Snub-nosed Monkey Enclosure

    The highlight of the primate section was indeed the Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys. A great species and one I am very pleased to have seen. I believe Beijing Zoo has all three snub-nosed species to be found in China. That’s my next goal. An unexpected highlight was seeing Hoolock Gibbons (White-browed Gibbon, Hoolock hoolock). This gave me the accomplishment of having seen all four gibbon genera. Incidentally, this is a feat that can be accomplished solely with a visit to Shanghai Zoo, as they also hold White-cheeked, Pileated and Siamang. Other noteworthy species included White-capped Langur, Tibetan Macaque, Putty-nosed Monkey, Red-eared Monkey and Greater Dwarf Lemur (signed but unseen).

    [​IMG]
    Red-eared Monkey

    Following on from the Primate section I entered the hoofstock area. Most of the enclosures are small but adequate paddocks with various mixes of earth/mud and hard standing. First I entered the Elephant House. On the one hand the exhibit space was cramped and all the elephants were held in separate stalls barely twice their size. On the other hand it had a wonderful ‘zoo smell’ that many institutions seem to do their best to separate visitors from. That’s pretty much the only positive to say here. The outdoor paddock seemed to have several sections and although small was arguably better than other Asian zoos. There was a decent sized pool but this was unfilled and the paddocks covered in weeds. Once again the animals had no outdoor access. Once again my impression was that most of space had not been used for a while. Elsewhere in the section I picked up some nice ticks for the ZooChat Challenge. It was also good to see a couple of my favourite species, Takin (Sichuan) and Hog Deer.

    [​IMG]
    Sichuan Takin Enclosure
     
  13. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    Shanghai Zoo Part Two

    [​IMG]
    Black-backed Jackal

    Bracing myself somewhat I then headed to the Carnivore section. Actually, many of the enclosures were not terrible here. Although most of the roofed cages are very undersized, they were all well planted and well furnished. I got decent views of a Black-backed Jackal, which I had never previously seen despite having visited both the UK collections that hold it. It is a beautiful species and was another highlight of my day. The three grotto-style enclosures for White Tiger, Lion and South China Tiger all had the potential to be pleasingly spacious. Frustrating, fully three quarters of the SC tiger exhibit was a water moat. Completely unnecessary, given the high wall up to the visitor viewing area. The lion (male singular) on the other hand could use the full expanse of his space.

    [​IMG]
    White Tiger Enclosure

    The less said about the bear pits the better. Once again I direct the reader to Chli’s review. The Sun Bears are in a separate area, which is a little better, but not much. The zoo has done a surprisingly good job turning disastrous primate exhibits into functional ones. I hope they do not attempt the same here; these need to either be razed or, if possible, planted and adapted for small mammals. Also in this section were two large pools for seals, one containing Northern Fur and the other Common. Although inherently a little shallow, these would have still been amongst the better ones I’ve seen had they been more than half full, and not carpeted with leaves. But they weren’t.

    Finishing off the first half of the zoo is an urban jungle of concrete and bars rather nauseatingly called Pets World. Thankfully, this has been boarded up for sometime, with only a couple of enclosures still used. Two were still abysmal, but the otters’ had been given a good makeover, though its inhabitants were nowhere to be seen. At the front of this area were two panda houses, for Giant and Red. The Giant Panda facilities were unremarkable in every way, including have no pandas on show. In fact I wonder if the zoo currently holds any, as I did not see off-show dens, though it would be a curious omission. There were however, at least six Red Pandas in two groups, one of whom was fast asleep in a tree. It’s always a delight to see this species, and as here, they usually get the long end of the stick when it comes to enclosures; many great ones spring immediately to mind.

    [​IMG]
    Northern Fur Seal Enclosure

    At this point in the day, after about three hours and with half the zoo (birds, herps and fish) still to go, I decided to leave. I don’t think I have ever voluntarily skipped exhibits I have not seen before, but an recurring issue was really starting to annoy me, so much so that I didn’t really feel I could enjoy the visit anymore. The problem was public feeding. I’ve actually been to surprisingly few zoos in China so far and I was unprepared for just how prevalent it was. Ubiquitous is probably the right word. It’s barely an exaggeration to say that every single visitor at a monkey or bear enclosure was offering food to the inhabitants. This is food bought in from outside the zoo, not something provided by the zoo. The one small silver lining is that the vast majority did appear to be giving fresh fruit, or maybe bread. That’s still not acceptable, but it could be worse. What’s particularly frustrating is that every enclosure has ‘Do not feed’ signs that are being completely ignored. Ignorance is understandable and to a large extent forgivable. Willful ignorance much less so. I actually tried talking to a young couple who I correctly guessed would have functional English and it was a complete waste of my time.

    This is, I think, is an ingrained cultural problem. The onus is on Shanghai Zoo, amongst others, to educate and induce change. One of the reasons that this got me so annoyed that I left is that the zoo clearly could be doing more in this regard. If you know that people will feed the animals and you know that if you put up signs they will be ignored then putting up signs is clearly not an adequate response. I found one sign by the bears actually explaining why public feeding is bad; these should be everywhere. Keepers should be visible and actively telling people not to feed; unbelievably I did not see a single member of the keeping staff all day until I returned to the primate section on my way to the exit. I think that is extraordinary. New enclosures should also be designed to discourage negative visitor behaviours, though it is probably impossible to eliminate the problem this way. Zoos have a duty of care to their animals and Shanghai needs to do more in this area; at the moment it is failing.

    [​IMG]
    Sign

    You may be reading this thinking that I didn’t like Shanghai Zoo. You’d be wrong. I actually liked it quite a lot. I will definitely be back soon. Not just to see the parts I missed, but also to enjoy what actually turned out to be quite a good primate section. I’m also extremely curious to see if the ape outdoor areas are ever actually used. I’d love to see those trees filled with orangutans. There were a couple of ungulates I missed as well.

    The zoo has clearly made some drastic improvements in the last three years. Additionally, both in the primate section and elsewhere there appears to be ongoing work: old buildings partially deconstructed and promising looking roped off areas. So both from this and logical extrapolation we should expect to see more developments over the coming years. Much of the zoo is either unused old space or lawns/forest so there is a lot of potential for replacing outdated exhibitsI also need to say that the zoo appears to be in the process of updating their signage, and the newer material appears to be high quality. Strategically then the zoo appears in good shape. On the other hand…

    [​IMG]
    Disused Stadium

    Gerald Durrell famously said something along the lines of: “If you spend five minutes in a place then you have the right to criticize it; whether others listen to that criticism is another question”. Something about the unused outdoor areas, the under-filled (or unfilled) pools and the complete lack of visible keeping staff really bothered me, even though most other enclosures were clean and the animals, to my untrained eye, appeared (with a couple of exceptions) to be in good condition. I just wonder if the modernization has really made its way down to day-to-day management.

    My second visit to this intriguing zoo will be very interesting I think. I will be choosing a dry weekday, to see if that changes any of the things I observed. Watch this space.

    [​IMG]
    Tiger
     
  14. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    the Dandenongs are very easy by train from Melbourne, and there are a number of other good wildlife spots accessible by train or/and bus. Have a look in my thread http://www.zoochat.com/24/z-o-o-b-o-y-365965/ for some ideas maybe.
     
  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    you may not like Beijing Zoo. It's not a bad zoo, but it has a lot of very bad cages due (mostly, I guess) to its age. Shanghai is much much better.

    Also a small pedantic correction, the Burmese snub-nose is also found on the Chinese side of the border so there are actually four species in China (but that species is not in captivity).

    I don't recall a lot of public feeding at the Chinese zoos, but there was a lot of banging on glass (Beijing in particular has many glass-fronted enclosures) and spitting on the animals. I lost my cool a little a couple of times...
     
  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I just re-read my Shanghai review where I actually said "...the ubiquitous feeding of the animals (there are signs everywhere saying not to feed the animals)" so I guess the glass-banging and spitting completely over-rode the feeding in my memory.
     
  17. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure I won't! But that doesn't mean I won't visit. It's obviously a significant collection in terms of history and current collection.

    So ubiquitous really is the right word to use :p
     
  18. Ding Lingwei

    Ding Lingwei Active Member

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    Just found this thread. Glad to know there is a zoochatter currently staying at my hometown.:D The name of the aviary in Hongmei Park actually is Hongmei Park aviary (or at least can be translated this way). There used to be a small zoo in Hongmei Park, with mostly grim cages. Interesting species include Assam macaque, Père David's macaque, large Indian civet, small Indian civet, hog badger and North Chinese leopard (very successful breeding program for this subspecies back in 90s). The old zoo closed in 2006, while remained animals went to the notorious “safari park”.

    I’m quite sure the great ape outdoor enclosures have been used recently judging from various pictures posted in Chinese zoo forum. The original giant panda sisters have been moved to Chengdu Panda Base. The two juveniles from panda base for exchange just arrived on April 16th, which is why you didn’t see any on exhibit. There is also a hairy-fronted muntjac mixed with Reeve’s muntjacs and tufted deer-a species which I believe have never been exhibited out of China. About the sections you skipped, Shanghai Zoo is one of the few zoos in China that still maintains a diversified bird collection, especially smaller endemic species (partly because there are a bunch of animals confiscated from illegal pet trade market sent here every year). There is much less public feeding in bird area so hopefully you’ll have better mood during your next visit……:eek:
     
  19. FunkyGibbon

    FunkyGibbon Well-Known Member

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    I found some references to the Hongmei Zoo online, but I assumed it was just the aviary. I have my own thoughts about the safari park, but I'd be interested to hear why you say it is notorious.

    This is all good news. Especially the ape enclosures. Could you link us to the Chinese zoo forum? I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be interested....

    I'm pretty sure I saw the Hairy-fronted (Black) Muntjac, but not the Tufted deer actually. Do you know what's happening with the building work behind the ungulate paddocks? I assumed it was just updated indoor holding for them.

    In fact, any future plans or insights to management decisions would be great.

    In short, great to have you aboard!
     
  20. Ding Lingwei

    Ding Lingwei Active Member

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    Actually Hongmei Park Zoo was at a different location of the park. Nothing from the old site was left~

    Generally speaking, in China, for most cases things get worse when state zoos are replaced by private-run for-profit "safari parks". Specific to Yancheng Safari Park, it was involved in dubious trade of great apes. Here is an old post in the China forum:

    http://www.zoochat.com/247/illegal-chimp-trade-387793/

    About the 10 wild-caught gorillas imported mentioned, Yancheng got at least one gorilla from that importation. I remember clearly that the arriving of the gorilla was heavily advertised in local media back then, but one day the ads suddenly stopped. In fact, none of those 10 gorillas was ever put on exhibit anywhere. And last year, Yancheng again got a new "baby chimp" for performance, which a lot of Chinese zoo enthusiasts identified as a bonobo. Today, there are more Chinese zoos starting to embrace a modern philosophy. Sadly my home zoo isn't one of them.

    I just browsed all the Shanghai Zoo threads in the Chinese zoo forum from last year. It occurs to me that chances seeing great apes using outdoor exhibits are indeed low (about 1 in 4 visits), so there is problem here. I didn't see the tufted deer during my visit last summer, and it seems that no one has photographed them for a while.

    Here is link to a thread about Shanghai Zoo's off-show breeding facility from the Chinese zoo forum (including some nice pictures of the only captive red gorals in the world):

    ???? ???2016 1.11??????????_????_????

    You can browse other threads in the forum from the link below. Have fun!

    ????????_????_????