Who wants to go to the zoo?

Despite what critics say about them, zoos (at lease a few of them) fill me with some hope about the survival of some species and preserving them for the future. I went to the Smithsonian National Zoo today, and loved every minute of it. Taking photos was a challenge what with the sudden movements and the-hard-to-focus-on locations that animals chose to be at. It made me appreciate wildlife photographers even more, who have to spend hours just waiting for the animals to show up.

We had made our plans for the zoo hoping to see the Cheetah cubs that were born in May. Unfortunately, they weren’t old enough to be put on display. However, the other animals definitely made up for our disappointment. The highlight for me was probably seeing the Giant Pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang. Mei Xiang apparently is the lazy one and Tien Tien the hungry one, who gets impatient if he does not get his food on time. Of course, like I said, I loved all the other animals too, each of whom had a very distinct personality. Just that pandas kill me with all their cute cuddliness!

As you might have guessed, this is Mei Xiang.

…And that’s Tian Tian living the good life while he chomps on some bamboo.

The following cranes were really aggressive (probably because they recently had a hatchling) and the male crane came to the front of the enclosure as if patrolling his arena and trying to ward off any intruder furiously with his beak.  

I don’t remember the names of these fellas, but don’t they look like a bunch of ruffians ganging together against some outsider? I don’t remember their names, but I call them the “Screechers” because they started a terrific racket together, all of a sudden. In another amusing incident, we also saw one of them trying to unsuccessfully escape, only to be caught by the zoo staff outside its enclosure.

Know what these are?


These flamingos made me think of Alice in Wonderland and croquet. Anyhow, aren’t these the most curious birds who choose to sleep with their heads buried in their body and stand on one leg?

What do you think of this grotesquely impressive King Vulture?

This cheetah was not having any of the visitor nonsense. He chose to park himself as far away as possible from the viewing platforms.

The gazelles and scimitar horned oryx were too busy munching on their grass to pay us any attention, but I’m including them as these were among the few of my half-decent photos.