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Hanoi Zoo Hanoi Zoo review, 14 May 2017

Discussion in 'Vietnam' started by Chlidonias, 14 May 2017.

  1. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    13 Jun 2007
    I had heard that the Hanoi Zoo was not a good zoo and so, given that I hadn't thought much at all of the Saigon Zoo, I wasn't all that eager to rush to see it. But I'm glad I did because while it could best be described as "average" it is, I thought, actually better than the Saigon Zoo. It's always better to see things for yourself and make up your own mind.

    The zoo is part amusement park, not in two separate parts but all meshed together so that rides and fun-houses and trains are just scattered all through the grounds between the cages. There's a lot of noise, but I guess the animals are used to it - none seemed stressed or even wary. I visited on a Sunday and it was quite busy but not crowded. Lots of people wanted to take their photos with me. I'm not sure of the entry price (I think it is about 10,000 Dong) because while trying to find the entrance from the bus stop - following the noise of gibbons - I wandered though the grounds of a temple and somehow found myself in the middle of the zoo without having gone through any of the gates. It's just that sort of place.

    The zoo is divided into three parts. The first part that I saw was mostly birds and is perfectly acceptable. The second part is on an island in a lake and is mostly macaque cages which are not at all acceptable. The third part is for all the other mammals, which have enclosures ranging from acceptable/average/okay to fairly poor. Overall I'd describe the zoo as "pretty good" - not great but not horrendous, with very few terrible cages. In general the animals seem better housed than the majority of animals at the Saigon Zoo, although there are several notable enclosures at Saigon which are considerably better than anything at Hanoi, either in size (e.g. Saigon's cage for Annamese silvered langurs) or in general (e.g. Saigon's gibbon island).

    The birds are, generally-speaking, housed well enough although the aviaries aren't that pleasant to look at. There's one row of enormously tall aviaries for hornbills and raptors - one of the aviaries here housed a weird mix of a great hornbill, an Oriental pied hornbill, a griffon vulture, a crested serpent-eagle, a black kite, and a juvenile eagle of some kind. The pheasant aviaries are reasonably large, albeit mostly or entirely bare, and are also pretty tall although the only arboreal birds in them were gold and blue macaws in one aviary and a couple of hornbills in some others. I saw Vietnamese pheasants "Lophura hatinhensis" here for the first time (I know they're not a real species, but still good to see them). Most of the other aviaries in this part of the zoo were much smaller, but not necessarily too small. Think backyard aviaries in size I guess, and that will give you an idea. Generally the aviaries were mixed. For example, one held four species of laughing thrushes, two (maybe three) species of Psittacula, and greater hill mynahs.

    There are also Siamese crocodiles in the bird section (and some more on the island part of the zoo). They were in simple fenced enclosures. One enclosure, with a juvenile crocodile, also held all the turtles and tortoises which can be seen in the species lists below.

    The worst individual cage at the zoo is in the bird section: a tall narrow stand-alone cage, presumably an aviary originally, for an Indochinese grey langur. There's just one langur although the cage now also houses a young crab-eating macaque. The langur stayed in the very top of the cage on the rafters where I suspect most visitors don't notice him.

    Coming in close on this cage's heels as the worst in the zoo are those on the island, for all the other macaques. They are all grim, to put it mildly. Small, ugly, tiled floors, bars and mesh, a few branches. There were three cages for rhesus macaques and almost all of the individuals were suffering from some skin condition - many of them were completely bald. Other macaques - curiously none of which seemed to have the skin condition even though all were housed quite close to one another - were Assamese, crab-eating, northern pig-tailed, and stump-tailed macaques. So, all five species found in Vietnam. A comprehensive collection, housed horribly.

    The last part of the zoo houses all the other mammals. The hooved stock have good-sized yards. There's not many species though - sika, sambar, greater kudu, sheep and goats, a couple of zebras, and a Przewalski's horse. The pair of common hippos have a standard-sized enclosure (i.e. fairly small, yet I'd be surprised if there weren't smaller hippo pens in American and European zoos!). The elephants have another standard yard (i.e. too small). There are no giraffes and no other antelope apart for the kudus.

    The larger carnivores are housed in a row of large rather-ugly cages, brick-backed and bar-fronted. They aren't overly small but not that big either. Sort of an average size. There are quite a few tiger cages, one of which has a list of years cubs have been bred, so I guess most of the occupants are home-bred tigers.

    The cages for the smaller carnivores are not great but they are (mostly) quite a bit better than is normal for Asian zoos. Most of them had branches and hiding boxes which was good to see. There are a lot of masked palm civets here - I saw nine individuals over five cages, and there were several other cages where I couldn't see any.

    Summary: certainly not a horror zoo. Animals mostly housed okay. Given all the amusement rides it would probably be better visiting on the weekdays as it would be quieter, but even on Sunday it wasn't overbearing. I didn't see any bad behaviour from the other visitors, apart for one guy knocking on the wire next to a sleeping francolin. I would hesitate to recommend the Saigon Zoo as a place to visit, but if in Hanoi I'd say the zoo would be worth seeing - not a "must-see" but not an "avoid" either. Perhaps skip the island part of the zoo though, where the macaques are kept.
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    13 Jun 2007

    *Northern White-cheeked Gibbon (three cages, three pairs)
    *Indochinese Grey Langur (just one, labelled "Phayre's Langur" with which it used to be conspecific)
    *Crab-eating (Long-tailed) Macaque
    *Rhesus Macaque (three cages, many of the individuals were completely bald)
    *Assamese Macaque
    *Northern Pig-tailed Macaque
    *Stump-tailed Macaque
    *Slow Loris (signed as Pigmy Slow Loris, but I could barely see one sleeping inside a tube so I couldn't say if that's correct. It looked like a Bengal Slow Loris by size though)
    *Ring-tailed Lemur (did not see)
    *African Lion (did not see)
    *Indochinese Tiger (five or six cages, although I don't think all were occupied)
    *Clouded Leopard (just one?)
    *Leopard Cat (did not see)
    *Asiatic Golden Cat (one)
    *Asiatic Black Bear (two cages, three or four animals)
    *Masked Palm Civet (lots - I counted nine, and there were several other cages probably occupied as well)
    *Common Palm Civet (I just saw one, but probably more)
    *Binturong (I saw three animals)
    *Sun Bear (two?)
    *Asian Elephant (two?)
    *Przewalski's Horse (one?)
    *Common Zebra (two?)
    *Common Hippopotamus (two?)
    *domestic Sheep
    *domestic Goat
    *Greater Kudu
    *Malayan Crested Porcupine
    *Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine
    *domestic Guinea Pig


    *Ostrich (about five)
    *[Rhea was on the map with the Ostrich, but no longer present or signed on the enclosure]
    *Lesser Whistling Duck
    *Spot-billed Duck
    *domestic Mallard (a couple in with the other ducks)
    *domestic Goose
    *domestic Turkey
    *domestic Chicken
    *Red Junglefowl (G. g. gallus, G. g. spadiceus and G. g. jabouillei were all signed in general, but only the first two had specific labels on aviaries, and they did not appear to be correct - i.e. there seemed to be some mixed aviaries of birds)
    *Blue Peafowl (only white ones)
    *Green Peafowl
    *Ring-necked Pheasant
    *Edward's Pheasant
    *Vietnamese Pheasant ("L. hatinhensis")
    *Silver Pheasant (annamensis and nominate)
    *Siamese Fireback
    *Grey Peacock-pheasant
    *Chinese Francolin
    *Common Coot
    *Purple Swamphen
    *Japanese Crane
    *[Lesser Adjutant signed but no longer present]
    *Grey Heron
    *[Chinese Egret signed but no longer present]
    *Cattle Egret
    *Black-crowned Night Heron
    *(Himalayan?) Griffon Vulture (one)
    *juvenile eagle, maybe White-bellied Sea Eagle
    *Black Kite (one)
    *Crested Serpent-eagle (two)
    *domestic Dove
    *domestic Barbary Dove
    *Spot-necked Dove
    *Red Collared Dove
    *Eurasian Collared Dove
    *Fischer's Lovebird
    *Budgie (unsigned)
    *Moustached Parakeet
    *Blossom-headed Parakeet
    *Slaty-headed Parakeet (did not see, almost certainly not present in the cage although it was a mix of several species)
    *Blue and Gold Macaw
    *Oriental Pied Hornbill
    *Great Hornbill
    *Masked Laughing-thrush
    *Chinese Hwamei
    *Black-throated Laughing-thrush (of the "lugens" morph)
    *White-crested Laughing-thrush
    *Greater Hill Mynah
    *Great Mynah (Acridotheres grandis) - labelled as "Chinese Jungle Mynah Acridotheres cristatellus"
    *Large-billed (Jungle) Crow


    *Siamese Crocodile
    *Elongated Tortoise
    *Red-eared Terrapin
    *Asian Giant Pond Turtle (Heosemys grandis)
    *Keeled Box Turtle (Cuora [Cyclemys] mouhotii)
    snowleopard, devilfish and Brum like this.
  3. Maguari

    Maguari Never could get the hang of Thursdays. Premium Member

    12 Oct 2007
    Chesterfield, Derbyshire
    Interesting. I would have said the exact opposite based on my 2012 visits!

    Has Saigon slipped, I wonder? I can't imagine our standards are all that different and Hanoi certainly sounds like it's not changed much. I know there seemed to have been a step backwards for Saigon's great apes in your review.
    devilfish likes this.
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    13 Jun 2007
    yes, I was wondering about the difference in our opinion also. It was partly from your views that I had been thinking about skipping Hanoi entirely.

    With Saigon, for me, I think it was that while there were some (few) good enclosures there, the bad ones were so bad that they coloured the whole zoo, and a lot of the relatively okay cages were still pretty bad, whereas Hanoi was - apart for the macaques and langur - generally okay. There wasn't the great disparity between good cages and extremely bad cages at Hanoi as there most certainly was at Saigon.

    However I think from your posts that you considered Saigon to be better than I did anyway, so perhaps it really is a case of the zoo simply being worse now than it was five years ago.