At the weekend I had my first trip around Bristol Zoo. It was OK: I did have an appropriately small-sized child in tow. (OK, I did see one group of 20-something men going round without children, but frankly that just seemed a little odd.)


After the flamingoes, who I felt must be a bit chilly, we admired the lion and lioness they have. It looked like a fairly good habitat for them, though in common with the other enclosures, rather on the small side. The information board said that it was common for them to walk up and down the edges of the enclosure, as this is there in-the-wild way of checking their territory. But I have to say that it felt more like they were going stir crazy. But who am I to say? This was my first experience of lions -- discounting the rather wonderful afternoon spent watching The Lion King in London a few years ago. [Picture credit: captainmcdan]A low roar filtered through to me from the next area - and I ran back to see whether it was really the lion. I couldn't easily see because of reflections on the grass, but it sounded rather amplified to me. Later on I heard what sounded like exactly the same pattern of roaring, and I can't help thinking it was pre-recorded. The next area was also a little strange - the Twilight World - where they had lots of mammals (eg, sand rats) that are most active at night or in twilight. It was accordingly very dark, and I wondered whether the animals get a dose of bright light during to simulate day-time, during our night period, when there are no visitors? Otherwise wouldn't they get tired out?We also saw monkeys, meerkats, mice, gorillas, fruit bats, ducks and lots of others. We didn't get to see the hippos, gibbons, red pandas or penguins ... but it's unlikely they'll all escape before I can next visit.

AuthorJonathan Clark