Saturday, December 23, 2006

At the Zoo

At the Zoo
The Taronga Zoo, where my sister-in-law Jeanine is working as the pathologist, sits across the harbour from downtown Sydney. It is a pleasant 15 minute ferry ride away, and yesterday, Shami, Sean and I went to visit.
At the Zoo

It was rather interesting to see some of the back-workings of the zoo, including some of the hospital facilities. Jeanine took some time off to walk around with us, and then we stayed on a while longer to see more of the zoo, which was very fun.

Giraffe and Opera House

The Taronga Zoo has all the typical zoo animals - gorillas, giraffes, zebras, and the newly arrived elephants, which are all the buzz in Sydney. But to us the real stars were the Australian animals. We got to see many of our favorites - the wombat, the bilby, the quoll, the platypus, the potoroo, the wallaby, and many more.

Spot the emu:
Spot the emu

Echidnas, which look a bit like porcupines with a snout, are actually related to the platypus: these are the only mammals that lay eggs. Shami says, "How mind-bogglingly bizarre is that? Warm-blooded mammals that lay eggs??!" I wanted to give them a pat, despite their prickly coat.

The zoo is home to several peacocks, free to roam the grounds.
Peacock on the loose

Sean and Shami photographing a stunning red parrot:
Photographing the parrot

The Tasmanian Devil is a fascinating creature. It is the largest surviving marsupial carnivore in the world, found only in Tasmania. A very recent and puzzling epidemic has tragically put it at risk of extinction.
Tasmanian Devil (behind glass)

We have yet to see a kangaroo in the wild, but we took a photo-op with this lazy red kangaroo in the zoo.
With the kangaroo

Awww.... a sleepy koala up a tree.
Koala up a tree

But what really stole the show for us was the wombat ... More on this to come soon!

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