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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Zoo in Sri lanka

The Zoological Garden Dehiwala -Colombo

Wow! they are big, was the single most frequent comment to come out of my mouth, as I followed the arrows at the Dehiwela Zoological Gardens on a bright Sunday morning.

As my chosen day for a visit was a Sunday, so was it the choice of thousands of others. Do you wonder why the roads are empty on Sundays? Of course, other than the fact that there is no work, well they're all here. The weekday "traffic jam" converted in to the weekend "people jam" is just what it is. I also found out that the average gate (ticket) income is Rs 33,000 per day.

Though the ticket for an adult is Rs 20 and Rs 10 for a child, the zoo does make that much. But it was well worth it. To my eyes all the animals from the fish to the snakes, were all in the big range, which is what brought about the "big" story.

When was the last time you went to the zoo or maybe took your kids? I'm sure "wow! they are big!" definitely wasn't on your list of comments but rather comments like, "Ooh the smell, the animals are so dirty" or "they look so sick," would be better bets.Well on my most recent trip to the zoo, what I found was quite the contrary. The smelly old zoo had been turned into a "new and improved" zoo. The animals and cages were clean, and they were well fed. Actually they are so well fed that the animals are bulging with fur and it's beautiful to see them like that. Specially the leopards and the panthers, they are so big and furry they look so impressive with their well marked coats that glisten as they gently pace up and down inside their cages. And the tigers, they look so healthy and strong with their massive paws and teeth. The lions, who are about ten to twelve in all, were also looking pretty good, although some seemed to be loosing a little hair, I guess it's the tropical sun.

What's the picture that comes to mind when you hear of a hyena? Maybe an ugly small dog-size animal that walks around like it dropped something. Well, it is more like a "big" Alsatian dog-size animal with an ugly face and walks around like it dropped something. I mean these guys are big almost as big as the lions and tigers. It wasn't only the tigers, lions and hyenas that were big, but also some of the birds. Specially the macaws in the new cage at arrow No 5. You can see four different types of macaws in this cage. And I must say their colours are brilliantly beautiful. It's no surprise they catch the eye of many a painter and photographer. Among the new additions are the three seals who have their own performance at 4 p.m. on Sundays. They have been at the zoo since June 1995. The first two who were males were joined recently by a female who came in December 1996 to make it a "threesome", and to describe their show, "packed", would be an understatement. Also the Nocturnal House, that was opened in October 1992, is also an interesting new section at the zoo that houses the animals that live right under our noses but we never get to see and, who usually bring out a broomstick or a scream when seen, like the polecat for instance. Also three squirrel monkeys, two ostriches and two wild horses were imported recently.

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