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Weirdest things you saw in zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by lowland anoa, 25 Jan 2015.

  1. lowland anoa

    lowland anoa Well-Known Member

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    I remember one time Edinburgh Zoo said their cotton-top tamarins had 'left' but I saw this species in Magic Forset
     
  2. GermanZooFan

    GermanZooFan Well-Known Member

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    The weirdest thing I saw in zoos was definitely the New Guinea Short-beaked Echidna & New Guinea Ground Cuscus' exhibit at Plzen Zoo. It was not the enrichment of the exhibit I find weird, it's the exhibit's place in the zoo: you can only find it, if you need to go to the toilet.... I think that says it all.
    It really is too weird!:D Fortunately, the exhibit is not situated IN the toilet directly but in the dark-lighted corrdior in front of the toilet. You won't pass it on the way around the zoo, not very subtle, especially because of the rarity of those species.
     
  3. Hvedekorn

    Hvedekorn Well-Known Member

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    And I suppose Plzen Zoo has more than one bathroom, which would make it even harder to find it. :p

    Well, I don't suppose those are species that most visitors would be sad about missing, but imagine the confusion if it was some popular species: "Are you standing in line?". "No, I'm watching the meerkats/cotton-top tamarins/generic popular species". :p
     
  4. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    I can't decide if this is stupid or brilliant.
     
  5. AverageWalrus

    AverageWalrus Well-Known Member

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    Probably a combonation of the Two
     
  6. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

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  7. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    I never saw it myself, but a Brookfield Zoo history book lists that three or four decades ago and empty exhibit had a sign placed in front of it identifying it as holding unicorns and giving information about the species :p
     
  8. GermanZooFan

    GermanZooFan Well-Known Member

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    I would say it's both.
    The animals have much more quiet in the toilet corridor than in a common house.

    The zoo is in my eyes beautiful divided into continents but this part breaks ranks. That is not to say the exhibit is bad but it doesn't fit in any theme.

    I remember there were also a few insect terrariums and even a small enclosure holding Southern flying squirrel, which are only kept 2 times in Europe.

    Fortunately, the corridor doesn't smell of toilet. xD
     
  9. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    This toilet talk reminds me of the Gents toilet in the entrance building at Twycross, where you can watch leaf-cutting ants carry leaf fragments past your nose as you point Percy at the porcelain (this phrase (c) Barry Humphries 1966).

    Actually the two weirdest things I ever saw were in Germany in 1973.
    One was the feeding show for the Californian sea lions and the big bull southern elephant seal that shared a pool at Wilhelma, Stuttgart: the climax was a set piece in which two sea lions leant against the elephant seal like bookends while he reared up into the air; the tip of his nose must have been almost 4 metres above the ground. There are photos of this in the Gallery and the discussion at http://www.zoochat.com/322/charly-elephant-seal-1991-a-116936/ also includes a couple of video links: the second video is close to what I saw. Incidentally quite a few zoos had elephant seals at this time and feeding time was always popular, the commonest 'trick' was to get the seal to arch its back so that the top of its head was almost touching its rear flippers - in spite of their girth elephant seals are so flexible that this easy for them.

    Even stranger was the afternoon feeding for the gorillas at Frankfurt. First Matze, then quite a young silverback, was shut away. Then the rest of the group were mustered in the indoor enclosure and then the keepers went in with them. If I remember correctly, there were at least three adult females and several juveniles including the blackback male 'Max' with about four keepers. The apes were trained to sit close together in a row on a long or shelf or ledge and they had to keep still, while the keepers walked along the row with a bowl of food and spoon fed each ape individually in turn. It was a rather disturbing sight, as it was obvious that the keepers were in charge, keeping control by force of personality, although the gorillas were quite clearly much stronger: perhaps it made the gorillas easier to manage and allowed each gorilla some individual attention, but I'm glad I have never seen its like again.
    By comparison, seeing Damien Aspinall and one of Howletts gorilla keepers playing with 'Kifu' and his group looked like a much more enjoyable experience for all concerned.

    Alan
     
  10. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to Twycross soon. Will endeavour to enjoy this same experience...:D

    Frankfurt Gorillas. I saw exactly the same thing on one of my visits there. Very regimented performance :rolleyes: They had to have their arms folded too. Interesting what you said about 'force of personality'. While I was there, at the end of it the keeper(only one in this case, from memory) exited the enclosure via the big metal door at one side. The Gorillas had to remain sitting in line, arms folded etc while he left. But as soon as he'd gone the blackback male 'Max' immediately walked over and climbed up onto the door, hanging above it it with his hands. Then he slammed it hard with his feet. 'Crash!' No mistaking the message- 'I'm getting too big for this'!

    I think many other European zoos did similar things with their Apes in those days. For example I saw tables and benches at places like Munich and Basel keepers would definately go in with and sit with females and babies while they spoonfed them, but not all lined up like Frankfurt. I have seen a postcard of the Basel female Achilla sitting at a table eating out of a bowl too, but that was in her earliest years at the Zoo before breeding started. And I agree about Howletts- by contrast the interactive sessions there always looked peaceful and relaxed and more on the Gorillas' terms- I was always impressed how respectful JA seemed to be with the silverbacks too- he clearly deferred to them.
     
    Last edited: 30 Jan 2015
  11. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I thought they had their arms folded, but I couldn't remember exactly and most of my photos were too poor to keep - I have just got one of the spoon-feeding. The keepers were quite strict about making the gorillas sit close together in their proper places and they made them sit up straight too; but there was no maltreatment of any sort (it would be very stupid to try this if you were in with them, of course) - it was just force of personality maintaining dominance and it was weird to watch.
    I think we have discussed this before, but I couldn't find the thread when I searched for it.

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 30 Jan 2015
  12. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I think we may have done too, but no matter.;) From memory the Gorillas were; females; Makulla, Julchen, Betsi, (maybe) Ellen(twin); Max the blackback plus a couple of younger ones. They sat on the lowest ledge of the tiled indoor area if memory serves me right.

    The previous/first time I went to Frankfurt male 'Matz' had only recently arrived from the USA aged about eleven years. He had previously lived in a cramped beast wagon and with little room to move properly- consequently his legs were weak and he shuffled around without walking properly. But that soon improved with proper space. On that first visit the Gorillas were living in the Chimp cages, and vice versa as the previous male 'Abraham' had recently drowned in the enclosure moat, which was later filled in before they were moved back.
     
    Last edited: 30 Jan 2015
  13. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Much weirder than this was surely the fact that, at one time, Stuttgart Zoo's elephant seal feeding show used to feature a chimpanzee throwing fish for the elephant seal.....
     
  14. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Too true . . . but I didn't see it :)

    Alan
     
  15. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    there's a photo of that in one of my older zoo books! I can't remember the title, but it was an English edition of a German book.
     
  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I've seen a photo of this somewhere- is it in one of the old 'Zoos of the World' books?
     
  17. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Yes, there is a photograph of the Stuttgart Zoo elephant seal being fed by a chimpanzee in the book “The World of Zoos” (English Language translation by Hilda Morris; 1968).
     
  18. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I am updating this thread because I have now posted scans of my photos of the events I described above in the Stuttgart and Frankfurt Galleries.

    Sealions and elephant seal at Stuttgart

    [​IMG]

    Gorilla feeding at Frankfurt

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Alan