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Ueno Zoo Ueno Zoo Review

Discussion in 'Japan' started by akasha, 11 May 2023.

  1. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I visited Ueno Zoo on 25.04.2023. I caught the train to Ueno Station, and then it was a short walk through Ueno Park to the zoo. I purchased my ticket at the gate from a machine, it cost ¥600 (about AU$6.60). I arrived at 10:10am, and could purchase my ticket immediately. Through the gate, I picked up a free map.

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    Ueno Zoo is divided into two sections, the East Garden and West Garden. I entered through the Main Gate, and began in the East Garden.

    The first exhibits were a small complex for Japanese birds. As a birder and a visitor to Japan, I was keen to see these, but most people weren’t so I had this area of the zoo to myself.

    The first exhibit was for Ruddy Kingfisher and Japanese Grey Thrush. I saw both species.

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    The second viewing window looked into an empty outdoor exhibit and encouraged visitors to look for wild birds. I had a quick look, but didn’t spot any. (I assume the big exhibit usually has some type of ungulate in it.)

    The next exhibit was for Rock Ptarmigan.

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    The next exhibit was a mix of species. It was a lively display, and I spent quite a bit of time searching for everything that was signed. I saw Black-faced Bunting, Rustic Bunting, Great Tit, Daurian Redstart, Japanese White-eye and Brambling. Grey-capped Greenfinch was also signed but I didn’t see any.

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    There was another exhibit, but it was empty for maintenance.

    Outside, there were two aviaries for Lidth’s Jay.

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    To the left I walked past the empty exhibit and crossed a small bridge to the exhibit for Japanese Serow and Ezo Sika Deer. I saw the deer in the morning, but didn’t see the serow until I was leaving in the afternoon. I saw one of each species.

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    To be continued…
     
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  2. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    From here the path went around the pagoda. It’s an interesting feature and works well in this area of the zoo. I was also interested to see a few artists who had easels set up to paint the pagoda.

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    Next were two aviaries for Japanese birds. The first held Eurasian Collared-dove, White-bellied Green Pigeon, Brown-headed Thrush and Japanese Wood Pigeon. The second was for Brown-eared Bulbul, Pale Thrush and Chinese Bamboo Partridge. The aviaries were well-vegetated.

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    Adjoining these was an exhibit for Japanese Squirrel which also had an elevated tunnel connecting the exhibit to a second area which enclosed the trunk of a large tree. This theme continued in various spots around Ueno Zoo, and I liked how they incorporated natural features to make the zoo more interesting for both guests and the animals.

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    Near here was a large open space with lots of of seating. Ueno Zoo had good and plentiful visitor facilities.

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    Next was the American Bison barn. Ueno had two bison and when I returned in the afternoon I saw them in here. It was a fun new way to see this species, and great to see them super close.

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    Around the corner was an exhibit for Black-tailed Prairie Dog. There was a glass-fronted burrow to view them, and also a large outdoor space. Behind here was the bison paddock, so that it appeared the animals were on the prairie together. I do love zoo exhibits that create a vista like this.

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    To be continued…
     
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  3. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Opposite here was a row of cages for primates. There were exhibits for White-mantled Black Colobus, De Brazza’s Monkey, Japanese Macaque, White-faced Saki, (this exhibit was on rotation with Black-handed Spider Monkey), and two more for Black-handed Spider Monkey.

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    White-mantled Black Colobus exhibit

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    De Brazza’s Monkey exhibit

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    White-faced Saki exhibit

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    White-faced Saki

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    Black-handed Spider Monkey exhibit

    Next was an impressive exhibit for Japanese Macaque. It was a faux mountain built in 1932, and looks great as well as providing the monkeys ample chance to display natural behaviours. I watched for a while, marvelling at how easily they could scale the rock face.

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    To be continued…
     
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  4. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    The next section of the zoo was for bears and seals.

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    There were two exhibits for Polar Bear. A small grassy one, and a larger concrete one designed to look like a polar landscape. The larger exhibit had a pool. I saw one bear in each exhibit.

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    The next exhibit set in the forest, had multiple viewpoints from above and through windows. It was for Hokkaido Brown Bear. The bear was active and definitely one of the highlights of the zoo for me.

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    The next exhibit was similar, it was for Japanese Black Bear. The bear was perched high on a platform and seen well from the upper level. There was also viewing into an indoor den on the lower level.

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    The next bear exhibit was for Malayan Sun Bear. I saw one bear. Integrated into it was also a small exhibit for Asian Small-clawed Otter.

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    Malayan Sun Bear exhibit with Asian Small-clawed Otter exhibit included on the left

    On the lower level from the bears, there was a tunnel for visitors to walk through with underwater viewing into the Polar Bear exhibit, as well as the seal exhibit. There was one California Sea Lion in the water.

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    California Sea Lion (view from upper level)

    Exiting the tunnel there was a small exhibit for Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan but they were off display. The sign said they were having troubling adapting to their exhibit.

    Below here was the outdoor viewing for the seals. There was one Harbor Seal resting on a rock platform.

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    Harbor Seal

    To be continued…
     
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  5. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    This area was a hub for the lower part of the East Garden with a cafe and plentiful seating.

    Beyond the seals was a row of aviaries for cranes and other large birds.

    The mesh on the cages made viewing a little difficult, but this row had some great species to make it exciting. There were exhibits for Wattled Crane, Hamerkop, a mixed exhibit for Hamerkop and Northern Bald Ibis, Black-necked Crane, Secretarybird and Red-crowned Crane.

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    Wattled Crane

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    Hamerkop exhibit

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    Northern Bald Ibis and Hamerkop exhibit

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    Nesting Northern Bald Ibis

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    Black-necked Crane exhibit

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    Black-necked Crane

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    Secretarybird exhibit

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    Secretarybird

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    Red-crowned Crane exhibit

    On the path towards the bears, there was an aviary for Southern Bald Ibis and Sacred Ibis.

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    On the other side of the hub space was a row of four aviaries. They were all large and well-planted. The first aviary was for Toco Toucan.

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    The second held White-bellied Go-away-bird and Eurasian Oystercatcher.

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    The third was for Crowned Hornbill and also had a male Palawan Peacock Pheasant.

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    The final one was for White-headed Buffalo Weaver and Palawan Peacock Pheasant.

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    To be continued…
     
  6. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Next to here was the Bird House. It was two levels, I began on the lower level.

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    There was a small cage with a Northern Red-shouldered Macaw. I believe it was a surrendered pet.

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    There were three large mixed exhibits on the ground floor. The first was for Egyptian Plover, Black-crowned Night-heron, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Madagascar Ibis and Razorback Musk Turtle. It was a spacious exhibit with interesting faux rock features and a few small ponds.

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    The second exhibit was for Black-necked Stilt, African Spoonbill, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Greater Blue-eared Glossy-starling, Golden-breasted Starling and Violet-backed Starling. I spent a decent amount of time looking and I saw them all except the Violet-backed Starling. There was also an unsigned turtle species.

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    The third exhibit had a glass tunnel which led to the exit. It was for White-bellied Go-away-bird, Elegant Crested Tinamou, Crowned Hornbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Blacksmith Plover and Pied Imperial-pigeon.

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    While some species are repeated at Ueno, they are shown in different ways which I found interesting. They usually also appear in mixed exhibits so add variety to those. Obviously it also gives the zoo a chance to hold larger populations and therefore different bloodlines of certain species.

    To be continued…
     
  7. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I exited the Bird House and then walked up the ramp to the upper level. At the entrance there was an outdoor exhibit for Triton Cockatoo.

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    Inside the building, there was a cage in the centre for Southern Tamandua. This odd South American mammal was a nice surprise in the birdhouse.

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    Around the building were various glass-fronted exhibits for birds. The first was for Fischer’s Lovebird and Crested Partridge, creating a colourful display.

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    The second was for Long-tailed Paradise-whydah, Crested Partridge, Red-throated Parrot-finch and Double-barred Finch, though I didn’t see any Double-bars.

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    Red-throated Parrot-finch

    The next viewing window was a large mesh-fronted one which looked into the canopy of the third exhibit on the ground floor. I thought this was a really cool idea as it gave an opportunity to see all the birds reasonably close depending on their preferred habitat.

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    Crowned Hornbill

    The next wall also had a large mesh viewing window into the top of the second exhibit on the ground floor, which allowed for a much closer look at the spoonbills.

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    African Spoonbill

    The next small exhibit was for Ruddy Kingfisher and Japanese Quail. I used to keep Japanese Quail and was actually super excited to see some of these kawaii little birds here in their native country.

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    The next exhibit was for owls. Indian Scops-owl and Northern Boobook were signed, but I only saw the boobook.

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    Overall, Ueno has an impressive bird collection, and I really enjoyed the Bird House. I wish an Aussie zoo would build a similar complex, we have plenty of great species available to fill one!

    To be continued…
     
  8. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Yeah the bird house was certainly one of the highlight of the zoo, together with the other 2 houses that i'm sure you'll get to. :)
     
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  9. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    From the exit of the Bird House, the path led to the ‘Gorilla Woods and Tiger Forest’. There were two large and well-vegetated exhibits for both Western Lowland Gorilla and Sumatran Tiger.

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    The gorillas were off exhibit, so I didn’t see them. There was good signage for the gorillas, detailing individuals. A few other animals around Ueno Zoo had their names included on their exhibits which I always think is a nice touch.

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    Next were the tiger exhibits. I saw one tiger in each exhibit, a male and a female.

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    Male tiger

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    Female tiger

    In this area there was also another small primate exhibit but it was empty. Adjoining one of the tiger enclosures was a small enclosure for Edward’s Pheasant. There was a pair with some small chicks.

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    This forest area was very green and pleasant. In general Ueno Zoo was green and had pretty gardens as expected in Japan.

    Leaving this area, there was an exhibit for Brazilian Tapir.

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    Near here was the entrance to the Nocturnal House but it was closed. (There were nocturnal species in the Small Animal House too.)

    To be continued…
     
  10. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    From here I went to the bird of prey aviaries. They were large cages that made viewing a little difficult, but held some impressive species.

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    The first aviary was for Harris Hawk. The next was for Andean Condor, with one bird displaying and showing off it’s impressive wingspan.

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    The next was for Stellar’s Sea Eagle. Magnificent birds and another highlight of Ueno for me.

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    On the other side of the path was an aviary for African White-backed Vulture.

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    Next to the sea eagles, was Mountain Hawk-eagle, followed by exhibits for Bateleur, Ural Owl, Japanese Scops-owl, and Snowy Owl.

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    Mountain Hawk-eagle

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    Bateleur

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    Ural Owl

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    Japanese Scops-owl

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    Snowy Owl

    Leaving this aviary row, there was an exhibit for Eurasian Otter. It had an unusual contraption which allowed the otters to swim through a transparent tube and bask in a transparent box. This is where the otters were snoozing and it allowed for extremely close views of the two female otters, Momo and Sakura.

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    There was another aviary row for galliformes and pigeons. Along the row were six exhibits for Australian Brush-turkey, Green Pheasant and Oriental Turtle-dove, Red-headed Wood Pigeon, Pied Imperial-pigeon, Palawan Peacock Pheasant and Collared Turtle-dove and Bare-faced Curassow.

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    Bare-faced Curassow

    The last species for me to see in the East Garden was Asian Elephant. There were two exhibits. I saw Utai and her son Arun in the big enclosure. He wanted to suckle and she didn’t want him to. I guess he is around weaning age and they were getting quite upset with each other, which made for an interesting display of elephant behaviour.

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    I spent about three hours in the East Garden which was a good amount of time to see everything (less the Nocturnal House which was closed).

    Coming from Australia, this half of Ueno Zoo would have been a satisfying zoo visit in itself, but there was still a whole other half to explore!

    To be continued…
     
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  11. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    No pangolins for you then? Oof. Other than that I don't think you miss much though.
     
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  12. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Ueno Zoo- East Garden Species List

    Mammals (22)

    Sumatran Tiger
    Polar Bear
    Hokkaido Brown Bear
    Japanese Black Bear
    Malayan Sun Bear
    Black-tailed Prairie Dog
    California Sea Lion
    Harbor Seal
    Eurasian Otter
    Asian Small-clawed Otter
    Japanese Squirrel
    Southern Tamandua
    Asian Elephant
    American Bison
    Brazilian Tapir
    Japanese Serow
    Ezo Sika Deer
    White-mantled Black Colobus
    Black-handed Spider Monkey
    De Brazza’s Monkey
    Japanese Macaque
    White-faced Saki

    Birds (61)

    Australian Brush-turkey
    Bare-faced Curassow
    Green Pheasant
    Edward’s Pheasant
    Palawan Peacock Pheasant
    Rock Ptarmigan
    Chinese Bamboo Partridge
    Crested Partridge
    Japanese Quail
    White-bellied Green Pigeon
    Japanese Wood Pigeon
    Red-headed Wood Pigeon
    Pied Imperial-pigeon
    Oriental Turtle-dove
    Collared Turtle-dove
    Eurasian Collared-dove
    Eurasian Oystercatcher
    Egyptian Plover
    Blacksmith Plover
    Black-crowned Night-heron
    Northern Bald Ibis
    Southern Bald Ibis
    Sacred Ibis
    Madagascar Ibis
    Black-necked Crane
    Red-crowned Crane
    Wattled Crane
    Hamerkop
    Ruddy Kingfisher
    Triton Cockatoo
    Fischer’s Lovebird
    Harris Hawk
    Andean Condor
    Stellar’s Sea Eagle
    African White-backed Vulture
    Mountain Hawk-eagle
    Bateleur
    Secretarybird
    Northern Boobook
    Ural Owl
    Japanese Scops-owl
    Snowy Owl
    Black-faced Bunting
    Rustic Bunting
    Great Tit
    Daurian Redstart
    Japanese White-eye
    Brambling
    Lidth’s Jay
    Toco Toucan
    White-bellied Go-away-bird
    White-headed Buffalo Weaver
    Crowned Hornbill
    Elegant Crested Tinamou
    Great Slaty Woodpecker
    Brown-eared Bulbul
    Pale Thrush
    Brown-headed Thrush
    Japanese Grey Thrush
    Long-tailed Paradise-whydah
    Red-throated Parrot-finch

    Reptiles (1)

    Razorback Musk Turtle

    Signed But Not Seen

    Western Lowland Gorilla
    Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan
    Violet-backed Starling
    Grey-capped Greenfinch
    Double-barred Finch
    Indian Scops-owl
     
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  13. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Yeah, didn’t see any pangolins.
     
  14. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    The two halves of the zoo are connected by a large ramp. Going from the higher East Garden to the lower West Garden, there is a great viewpoint from the top of the ramp to get an overview of the West Garden, including the pond.

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    At the bottom of the ramp there were some stores and cafes. I don’t usually eat zoo food, but when I saw the panda bento that was available I couldn’t resist. It cost ¥700 (more than zoo entry!) but was absolutely worth it for the kawaii factor, and it was tasty too.

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    I sat by the pond and ate my lunch admiring the view of the cormorant colony and the surrounding city. That’s something I like about Ueno Zoo, the way it fits into it’s surrounds, using natural features and working with the city skyline.

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    In the central hub area there was an exhibit for African Penguin.

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    In this area was also an exhibit for American Flamingo.

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    On the way to the entry for the Panda Forest, there were two exhibits for Eastern Grey Kangaroo. Though they are an extremely common species that I have seen countless times in the wild and in zoos, I was fascinated to see them displayed in cages like this as an oddity. I’m used to seeing them open-range or in walk-throughs.

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    Adjacent to the kangaroo exhibit was one for Collared Peccary.

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    To be continued…
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2023
  15. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    The entrance to the Panda Forest was oneway, and there was a big space and barricades to allow for huge crowds to line up to see them. Luckily there was nothing particularly special happening the day I visited so there was no crowd.

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    The first exhibit was for Red Panda.

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    Then there was a row of aviaries. The first held Golden Pheasant.

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    The second one was of particular interest to me, it held Temminck’s Tragopan which is a species I’ve wanted to see since I was a kid. The blue was incredibly vivid, and contrasts spectacularly with it’s orange plumage. A very impressive bird.

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    The third aviary was for Lady Amherst’s Pheasant.

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    Next were the Giant Panda exhibits. The first one was empty. The second held female, Shin Shin. She was in her indoor area sleeping.

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    Shin Shin’s exhibit

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    Shin Shin

    The third one held the male, Ri Ri. He was outdoors, and surprise surprise, he was sleeping! In my opinion pandas are a bit overrated as a zoo animal, they just tend to be a bit boring, but they are undoubtedly the most heavily promoted animals at Ueno. Around their exhibits was the only place I saw security staff who were keeping a very close eye on the visitors.

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    Ri Ri’s exhibit

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    Ri Ri

    Looping back around I looked at the Shoebill. There were two exhibits. One was huge with very dense vegetation, the stork just visible towards the back. The other was smaller and had an indoor area that could be viewed which is where the bird was.

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    To be continued…
     
  16. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    This has been a thoroughly enjoyable review @akasha.

    Ueno Zoo is reminiscent of a 1980’s Australian zoo - from the admission cost to the design of exhibits. While the majority of the exhibits are dated, I was astounded by the diversity in species - which reminded me of the accounts I’ve heard of Melbourne Zoo etc. during that era.

    No doubt Ueno will follow a similar trend over the coming decades. Rampant phase outs, coupled with larger exhibits for fewer species.
     
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  17. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I really enjoyed visiting Ueno Zoo. And while it is a great zoo, I think a lot of my enjoyment was nostalgia for Taronga and Melbourne Zoo back when I was a kid.

    I hope Ueno doesn’t follow that trend too much. While there are certainly some exhibits that could do with upgrading, a huge part of Ueno’s appeal is that it looks like a zoo!
     
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  18. aardvark250

    aardvark250 Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    The panda bento is just such a japanese thing to do lol.
     
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  19. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Next was the Small Animal House. It was two levels, the first was lit, and the second lower level was for nocturnal species.

    The first exhibit was for Cotton-top Tamarin.

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    Next was a wall with tiny exhibits for mice and shrews. There was Small Japanese Field Mouse, Large Japanese Field Mouse, House Mouse, Pygmy Mouse, Cairo Spiny Mouse and two for Asian House Shrew. I saw them all except for Pygmy Mouse. The shrews showed well, and House Mouse was a good inclusion as it was active while all the other mice were sleeping which I imagine is usually the case.

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    Large Japanese Field Mouse

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    House Mouse

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    Cairo Spiny Mouse

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    Asian House Shrew

    There was an exhibit for Common Marmoset, and one for Cape Hyrax.

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    There was an interesting exhibit for a large colony of Naked Mole-rat. The exhibit allowed views into their tunnels and nests.

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    In the centre of this area was an exhibit for Meerkat. It was the only exhibit I didn’t like at Ueno. The sentry looked very confused and I think meerkat need to be able to see the sky.

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    Next were larger glass-fronted exhibits. The first was for Prevost’s Squirrel. There was one for Pallas’ Cat and another for Dwarf Mongoose.

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    On the other side were smaller exhibits for Brazilian Guinea Pig and Degu.

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    Brazilian Guinea Pig

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    Degu

    Next was Southern Three-banded Armadillo. I can’t ever recall having seen armadillo before, and this one was super kawaii, never stopping as it busily explored it’s enclosure.

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    The final exhibit on this floor was a large one for Ryukyu Flying Fox.

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    To be continued…
     
  20. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I know, right! There were so many things I wanted to do in Japan, so ticking Ueno Zoo and kawaii bento in one go was great!