After I told my guests about the zoo, my kids said, "Ema, that was really fascinating. Really. You should blog about that."
Well, some of it really was fascinating, so I'll try to share with you a little bit more of what I remember about the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.
The zookeepers were very eager to answer everyone's questions and here are some of the topics they discussed:
** There are so many endangered species in the world, the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo does its part in raising and caring for many of these species and then hopefully ultimately reintroducing them into nature. Deer from the zoo have been reintroduced into nature preserves and forests. The zoo tracks them after they return to nature to see how they do. One of the zookeepers told us that another zoo's panda bears were returned to the wild and died because they did not know how to fend for themselves. He said that many animals that are not specifically trained on how to survive in the big wild world, unfortunately die of starvation. That was pretty sad. Hopefully the Jerusalem Zoo's deer are learning how to eat in nature.
** The Jerusalem Zoo does not exhibit any animals that have difficulty in Israel's climate. They had snow leopards once and they could not exist in the Jerusalem summer heat. In fact, there are zoo boards that reject requests from different zoos to exhibit certain animals, because of the conditions for that animal at the zoo and the climate.
** The flamingoes drink water mixed with paprika and other things in order to maintain their pink color. In the wild, they eat pink shrimp.
** Did you know that if a zoo wants to have a panda bear, they must pay the Chinese Government one million dollars a year for the privilege and the responsibility of having the panda? This money goes into a fund for the preservation and breeding of pandas.
** It takes the zoo's chef more than a half day to prepare food for all the animals.
** The elephants are exercised every day. The tricks they do are actually for their benefit, so that they will be able to show the veterinarian different parts of their body for check ups. They are put to "work" in their cage - like moving big logs, etc. - as a form of a physical workout. BTW, the elephants are the only animals that get a daily tiyul around the zoo.
Voices TV hopes to have a video up about the Jerusalem Zoo in the next few days. Check www.voices-magazine.com for Voices TV.