San Diego Zoo Visit

  Doing tourist things in our hometown.

Event Report 20210210

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The Experience

Covid had finally taken its toll on our collective patience and boredom overtook us.  We saw a report in the local newspaper that a new baby giraffe had been born at the zoo so we assessed the risk of checking it out in person.  We discovered some restrictions, particularly with respect to reservations and ticketing, but the zoo was, in fact, open.  So, we renewed our yearly passes and headed out.  The day was coolish and somewhat overcast, but both combined to make a pleasant visit.

All the photos below were taken with my Sony A7R4 camera and Sony 100-400mm zoom lens.  All images were shot in uncompressed RAW format (at about 120mb per image).  Digital images were developed with Capture One and reduced to 1200x800 pixels for inclusion in this page.

The photos below are what we saw.

We had intended on seeing the baby giraffe but got our navigation confused and ended up going past the Hamadryas baboon enclosure.  That turned out to be a good thing in the end, because they provided some interesting entertainment.  Above, a deep grooming session is in progress.

As we left the upper viewing area we went past the baboon's perimeter trail.  The cool day caused the troop to do laps of the large enclosure.  This large male, looking like he was fresh out of the salon, was leading the group.

This older male was close behind.  This is one ugly mo-fo right out of my worst nightmare with plenty of battle scars and a receding hairline.

  This female baboon was back in the pack.

Another salon-fresh male.  Note the intensity in his eyes.

Next to the baboon enclosure was another set of monkeys called Gelada and eat mostly grasses.  This fellow has a face that only a mother could love and appears to have been enjoying himself (look closely).

Several females in the same Gelada enclosure.  These have loooong tails.

This is a white-fronted bee-eater ready to enjoy lunch.

The bee-eaters stun the bee and remove the stinger before consuming them.

This fellow flew down right next to me and lit on the hand rail.  He was not scared, so I am suspected that he wanted a handout.  Having none, he just ignored me but did stay long enough to pose for this photo.

This weaver bird was doing home improvement.

Another colorful bird in the enclosure.

A nice water lily bloom in one of the ponds.

One of several monkey species in the exhibit.  I was surprised that the camera would focus through the mesh webbing that was between myself and the monkey.

Nearby we spotted this conspiracy of Ring-Tailed Lemurs.  Yes, a group of lemurs is called "a conspiracy".  Notice how they are sitting; they appear to be huddling for warmth.

We watched the conspiracy move the location of their huddle from the grass to a flat rock.  One lemur left the first huddle and the others followed within a few seconds.

In the next enclosure we spotted this pygmy crocodile.

We reached the bottom of the canyon and headed back up to the mesa and passed this Andean Bear.

This North American Grizzly Bear was napping.  Check out those claws!

I felt bad for this leopard: he was just pacing back and forth along the fence line wearing a rut in the ground.

This is a Russian leopard and he, too, was pacing the perimeter of his enclosure.

A vicious growl?  No, a wide yawn.  This fellow was sacked out in his hammock fabricated out of woven fire hoses.

His cell-mate was sleeping with his tongue out.

When we hit the top of the canyon, we headed over to see the giraffes and passed this animal equivalent of M-1 tank.

The rhino liked being stroked by the keeper but note the size of the steel cables that are part of the enclosure.  I doubt that you would want to see him upset in the wild.

There were a number of giraffes in the enclosure, but no baby was visible.  Instead we got this fellow who was a mile tall.

Completing that loop we passed a napping cheetah.

In the next enclosure was another pair of cheetahs, this one was napping with his tongue out.  What's up with that?

The other cheetah in that enclosure was basking in the somewhat limited sun.

Meanwhile, in the koala enclosure it was feeding time.

When the keeper opened the door to the enclosure, this fellow came right down.  He knew that keeper meant dinner was served.  In addition to the natural diet, they are given some kind of supplements served via syringe. She brought the gruel in a paper cup and had to suck it into the syringe.

It was feeding time in the bird enclosure as well.  This kookaburra caught a small, snack-sized mouse.

I spotted this peacock running loose on the sidewalk near the exit.

The expansive San Diego zoo was more than our endurance would allow for a single visit.  Happily, we have a yearly pass and it is close to our home, so we usually do it in parts.  We'll return soon and take another bite.

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