Visit to the Animal Kingdom

1 07 2007

Saturday afternoon Tracey and I decided to visit the Animal Kingdom Zoo and Pet Store in Bordentown, New Jersey. It’s a small roadside zoo with lots of older-style cages and enclosures, featuring a rather surprising array of primates, and while I can’t say I’m exactly pleased with the way some of the animals are kept, the staff does seem like they’re trying to give the animals a decent existence (many of them seemed crippled or otherwise indicative of unwanted pets).

The zoo offered a few good photographic opportunities, although I’ll have to acquire (and master) photoshop to fix some of the pictures. One such shot was the following one of a wolf, as it was impossible for me to get closer to the cage to get the out-of-focus bars out of the shot;

The zoo also sported a pair of white-nosed coati in a shaded enclosure, one of which of the blonde variety;

Coati

We also happened into a newly-arrived baby camel soon after entering the zoo. This baby could not have been more than a few days old, as it still was a bit wobbly while walking and the remnants of the umbilical cord were still attached. Why it was serparated from its mother at such an early age, I don’t know;

Camel

A breeding pair of white peacocks were also roaming the grounds, the mother guarding a group of three white chicks;

Peacock

Peacock Babies

Another peacock male was not so fortunate, however; for some reason he was missing all of his beautiful, sexually-selected tail feathers. That didn’t stop him from trying, though;

Peacock

Some Helmeted Guineafowl were roaming the grounds as well (thanks for the help with the identification Julia!);

Fowl

The Muntjacs I remembered from my last visit were still at the zoo, although they had gotten rather chubby. They didn’t seem to eat the various peanuts/fruit loops/etc. people threw into their enclosure, so I’m not sure exactly how they got to be so corpulent;

Muntjac

Muntjac

Muntjac

Muntjac

The lemurs didn’t seem to experience the same weight problems, although they seemed hopelessly addicted to Fruit Loops given out in the “Animal Feed.” They largely ignored peanuts and animal crackers, sticking their heads and arms out of their cage hoping for the cereal. While I’m dubious about the long-term health effects of this, there was no doubt that they were sugar-fiends;

Lemur

There were a few canines in the zoo as well, including some sleepy fennec and silver foxes;

Fennec

There was another canid at the zoo that was less-lively; a stuffed/skinned wolf hanging in the vestibule before the zoo entrance, along with a stuffed boar head, pronghorn head, various animal skins, and others. Where the zoo acquired these pieces, I don’t know, but they were sad to see. I remember visiting a place called Ray’s Sport Shop as a child, calling it “The Animal Store,” not realizing until later that all the antelope, moose, cats, etc. on the wall were the “prizes” from various hunting trips.

Wolf

Boar

Pronghorn

Not everything about the day was sad or disquieting, however. The giraffes were extremely friendly and interesting, and I got my fair share of giraffe saliva all over my hands feeding them some grass and a few peanuts. It was interesting to see all of their different personalities, some being rather timid to take the food from me, but aggressive when a more friendly giraffe would move in. Still, it was certainly the high point of the day;

Giraffe

All in all, it wasn’t a bad day, although I wish the zoo would stop allowing visitors to give the primates so much sugar (especially unsupervised; there was virtually no staff on the grounds). The zoo reminded me of the general problems of any zoo, trying to provide safety for the people and the animals, taking in some sick and unwanted animals, but lacking the funding to give them the absolute best care.


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4 responses

2 07 2007
Julia

The fowl is a guinea fowl. Four years of eating them at university and I can recognise them a mile away. They’re related to pheasants and other gamebirds.

They taste a bit like duck, but greasier.

2 07 2007
laelaps

Thanks for the answer Julia; it was right on the tip of my tongue, but I just couldn’t quite remember. I knew it was some kind of pheasant-relative, but I knew it was probably easier to ask what it was on here than try to find it in a bird guide. Thanks!

2 07 2007
RedMolly

If you have $80 or so to spare, Photoshop Elements would do everything you’d need it to do to tweak your photos… plus it’s about a hundred times more user-friendly than Photoshop proper. It’s what about 70% of the submitters to our magazine use.

The silver fox is beautiful! The baby camel is just making me sad…

2 07 2007
laelaps

“If you have $80 or so to spare…”

Hahaha, oh my, that’s funny… I might towards the end of the summer, but at the moment I have some other bills to take care of. Still, thanks for the tip! I usually have to play around with the contrast on my camera to make sure the shutter clicks fast enough so the photos don’t blur, but most of the photo programs I have don’t allow me to play with brightness/contrast once I have the photo on my computer. I’ll definitely look into it though, and it will certainly improve the quality of the photos I put up here.

“The baby camel is just making me sad…”

The baby camel was very, very soft, but I don’t know why it wasn’t with it’s mother. There was another slightly older baby in with the larger camels, so I don’t know what the story was there. Such is my love/hate relationship with zoos and other places; I love that I can get close to so many animals and observe them/take photos, but (with the exception of some of the better places like the Bronx Zoo), many times they just make me sad.

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