Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Zoo Excursion!

Hello again! I'm so excited to share with you some pictures from my recent class field trip! We got to go to the Zoo -- yippee-doodle!

Welcome to the Singapore Zoo! We were so excited when we saw it come into view. Our teacher gave out excursion booklets for us to fill in while we were there.

There were dozens of people queuing up to pay for their admission, or buy tickets for animal shows, and tram and ferry rides.

Here I am standing near the ticket booth, waiting to go in with my class. It was pretty sunny that day (like every day here in Singapore!!!), so I decided to put on my hat.

We saw the parrots first. The parrot is also known as a psittacine. There are more than 370 parrot species living in tropical and subtropical areas, including Macaws, Amazons, lorikeets and cockatoos. All parrots have strong, curved bills, and clawed zygodactyl feet (that means two toes facing forward and two facing back).

Parrots mainly eat seeds, nuts, fruit, nectar and other plant material. Sometimes they eat animals as well. Did you know that parrots are one of the most intelligent birds in the world? They can also see many unusual colours that the human eye cannot see -- they can see parts of the ultraviolet end of the spectrum! Unfortunately, some parrot species are highly endangered :(

After the parrots, we went to look at the otters, but they were swimming so fast that I couldn't take a decent picture of them. I did manage to take this one of a proboscis monkey though! Proboscis monkeys are one of the largest monkey species. The male has a pretty large nose! Proboscis monkeys are found exclusively in the rainforests of Borneo (well, in zoos too), and eat fruits, leaves, flowers, seeds and sometimes insects. They usually live in groups, and communicate by honking, snarling and even roaring! Did you know that the proboscis monkey has webbed feet and is a very good swimmer? Sadly, it is extremely threatened in its natural environment because of deforestation.

Here is cute little sea turtle. I'm not sure, but I think he (she?) might be an Atlantic ridley sea turtle. He is diving down to pick at something on the floor, maybe some algae or seaweed.

Here is an adorable little squirrel we saw sitting on a little log. He was actually nibbling on a cute little acorn. Before I could snap another picture, he scampered away to a nearby tree, out of sight.

Here are two crocodiles. As you can see, one is dead and one is alive. Obviously, this one is quite alive. Crocodiles usually live in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes and wetlands; they mostly eat fish, reptiles, and mammals, which sounds like almost everything really! Did you know that the word "crocodile" comes from the ancient Greek word for "lizard"? The pressure of a crocodile's bite is more than 5,000 pounds per square inch, compared to just 335 pounds per square inch for a Rottweiler dog, or 400 pounds per square inch for a large great white shark. Crocodiles can swim swiftly and are very fast over short distances, even out of water -- very, very scary!

This picture of the stuffed crocodile was taken outside the auditorium, where we were waiting for a talk by one of the zookeepers. He looks awfully fat, doesn't he. Perhaps he died from that.

Here I am posing at a notice board near the auditorium. Some kids draw stuff and they tack it up here. My friends and I walked around a path near the auditorium and found a creepy, yet cute, surprise hanging from the ceiling. Guess what we saw? Yes, fruit bats!

Isn't it kinda weird that there were bats up there? This is only one of the bats; there were a whole bunch on the ceiling up ahead. My friend started yelling at the bats to come down, which woke some of them up. Some of them flew off but eventually flew back; some just went back to sleep.

Did you know that another name for the fruit bat is megabat? Fruit bats eat, well, fruits, or lick nectar from flowers. They have sharp teeth to bite through hard fruit skins and very long tongues that unroll when they are feeding. Some bats actually help pollinate flowers! Did you know that they have to run into something such as a tree or bush in order stop themselves when flying?

Soon, we were heading to the zoo auditorium to listen to a talk by one of the zookeepers. We were learning about the outer coverings of animals.

Do you see Mr Bones up there? He was used to represent humans, and to tell us that we are mammals, like dolphins and whales.

This is a quote from a wildlife aid group. They try to help animals that are being killed for their skin, fur or feathers. I'm not sure if it's WildAid, but this is their mission, which I think is great: "To end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.

"The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth over $10 billion (USD) per year and has drastically reduced many wildlife populations around the world. Just like the drug trade, law and enforcement efforts have not been able to resolve the problem. Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent protecting animals in the wild, yet virtually nothing is spent on stemming the demand for wildlife parts and products. WildAid is the only organization focused on reducing the demand for these products, with the strong and simple message: when the buying stops, the killing can too".

The crocodile, tiger cub, pangolin and porcupine had all died a long time ago and been stuffed. The zookeeper had them displayed on a table in front of her and kept stroking them.

The polar bear's paw was from the zoo's polar bear, Inaku, who had recently died of old age. I hope there was a very good reason why they did not just stuff the whole bear and leave him his paws.

The snake's skin had been shed by a python from the zoo's Reptile House.

These are white tigers. Aren't they beautiful? See how their fur gleams in the sun. They always look so proud and majestic, but I think they look happy and cheerful sometimes too.

Unlike domestic cats, tigers have eyes with round, not slitted, pupils. That's because domestic cats are nocturnal, while tigers are crepuscular, meaning they hunt mainly in the morning and evening. Most tigers have yellow eyes, but white tigers usually have blue eyes. This has to do with the the gene for blue eyes which is linked to the gene for white fur (see my cat Ming?). A tiger's night vision is six times better than that of humans!

Tiger claws are retractable, just like with house cats, and they scratch trees to mark their territory. Tigers don't normally roar at other animals, but to communicate with other tigers. A tiger's stripes are unique, like human fingerprints -- the markings can also be found on their skin, so even a shaved tiger would still show its stripes. Tigers are very good swimmers.

Many people hunt down tigers for their beautiful skin, which endangers the poor animals. They also face territory loss as more and more humans crowd them out. In just a hundred years, the world has lost 97% of wild tigers -- don't let them become extinct! Visit groups like the WWF to see how you can help!

We had lots of fun at the zoo, but we learned some sad things about the animals as well. I hope you will help to save these poor endangered and homeless animals. Many animals are endangered because of human activities -- not just poaching and killing, but also other things like deforestation, pollution and using poisons in gardens and on farms. Read this for a start and remember to reduce, reuse and recycle! See you again real soon!

3 comments:

  1. You wrote such a great and detailed report! I like your close-up pictures. I always have a hard time taking close photos, especially of moving animals!

    I agree completely about the responsibility we have as consumers to not encourage poaching!

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  2. Such a wonderful trip of a great trip. This post is a wealth of information. It breaks my heart that animals are slaughtered needlessly, greedily. Human beings need to be more conscientious and respectful of all living creatures.

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  3. What an amazing trip to the zoo! So much important information too! The fruit bat is adorable! We need to take care of all the beautiful living creatures in our world ;o)

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