There are actually two zoos in Macau but as neither is particularily special they don't appear on the average tourists list of places to visit. The actual 'Macau Zoo' within the city of Macau is located within the Floral Garden Park at the base of Guia Hill.
It is a quite pleasant little place to visit and only a short walk from anywhere in the city centre.
The other Macau collection is located on Coloane Island within Seac Pai Van Park.
This is one of a series of zoo reports that was actually included within my travel journal ‘The Itinerant ZooKeeper’. Initially I started to extract the zoo data but found the reading was diminished by it. So look on it as a zoo travelogue. The only major edits I have done is a little censoring and to remove the Casanova exploits.
A family in Macau Zoo
Tuesday 13th February 2007
It is not possible to visit Macau without being aware of the Casino culture. This is how and why present day Macau exists. We had not been anywhere near a gaming table in this or our previous visit. Today though we made our way down to casino land because it is the best place to catch a taxi. We went into the newest open place, the Grand Lisboa. Very opulent with an entrance foyer like an eight star hotel. We never ventured further than the foyer.
Asiatic Black Bear
Today we went to Macau Zoo. Not somewhere many people will have heard about as it does not figure that highly on the tourist itinerary Actually it is not a bad place though there is not too much to it and it is not inspiring. It is situated in Yi Lung Hau Gung Yuen or the Floral Garden Park at the base of Guia Hill.
The signage is good though limited to Chinese and Portuguese but does include that all important scientific name. No map but there was a colour photo. All the stock that I saw was in good health. There was restricted viewing of some aviaries because of the Avian influenza restrictions and the largest most attractive aviary closed and birds moved into a smaller more manageable area. The open waterfowl area had been ingeniously blocked off using a lot of netting and bamboo poles.
Not much in there though. The inevitable domestics plus three single swans and a common crane. There were Red-eared terrapins in abundance, but then where is there not these days? They are slowly taking over the world. These were in a small pool but it was deep enough and it was clean.
A single female Francois' Langur Semnopithecus francoisi with a youngster had free run of three cages. These had plenty of cage furniture, evidence of past enrichment. The cage was old fashioned and horrible to look at but efforts had been made to make the best of a bad job and here I think they succeeded. This was one of those collections where the 'Enrichment DVD' could/will work wonders. Someone cares but does not know what to do works here. They need the practical inspiration.
There was a large mixed Macaque cage. The sign suggested there was only Rhesus in there but I saw Japanese and Pigtail macaques too. The enclosure was big enough, there were the expected tyres on chains (who was the first to come up with that one?) but little else to do.
There was a Himalayan bear enclosure. I did not think it too bad. The terrace design allowed the animals to see out. The water at the bottom of the slope was clean. Again it needed a bit of an enrichment kick but as far as bear enclosures go in Asia it was one of the better ones that I have seen lately and much better than that in Singapore Zoo. I did not see the bears though as they had free access to the dens and were sleeping inside. How refreshing is that? Not locked out to pander to the public.
After the zoo we took a cable car up Guia Hill and walked further on up to the fort and chapel. Brilliant views over the city. We spotted a lime green church in the distance and walked down to it. Set in a large and interesting cemetery which contained that 'one' grave that really set itself apart. Mind you there were many special graves here, practically all of them held photographs of the deceased and one or many tokens of affection like rosaries or small statues. Some even had small temple guardian dog statues showing that people were covering all options. It was a beautiful graveyard. I think what really saddened me was the thought that if this was the UK the vandals would have been around toppling stones and stealing anything that wasn't nailed down...but then they would try. I was interested to learn from Gloria that this was the first time she had visited a church set in a cemetery....seems it is not done in the Philippines and come to think of it I hadn't noticed one. It is of course more the rule rather than the exception within the UK.
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