Sunday, August 24, 2008

Disappointment with Melbourne Zoo

I spent this entire afternoon at Melbourne Zoo and quite frankly, I left feeling disappointed.


Because it was depressing to see the animals kept in enclosures that are far too small. The lions and bears, for example, were showing clear signs of stress and boredom from being poorly kept in captivity. The animals were continually pacing up and down... up and down... up and down... You get the idea.

Excessive pacing is a strong indicator of stress and a lack of stimulation

Why then have the keepers not included props and toys to promote play and exercise? These animals need an outlet to expand their energy on. Without such an outlet, they will deteriorate mentally and physiologically.

An African Wild Dog stands still like this for about 5 minutes while another paces up and down by his side

A bored Baboon sits in the middle of his concrete enclosure and stares blankly at the floor

A lone bear paces back and forth continuously in a small enclosure

Bears enjoy scratching for food hidden in boxes. Lions enjoy keeping a look out from a high perch. It would benefit the animals greatly if such equipment were incorporated into their enclosures which need to be made larger anyway.

The same lone bear goes round and round in the same circle

Many of the animals were also looking very thin. This seems to me to be another sign of stress. Hip and shoulder bones could be seen sticking out from fur of all colours and patterns. It was truly a depressing sight.

He suddenly stops circling and freezes in this position for about 2 minutes. Note the hollowness in his belly and the sharp protrusion of bone in his shoulder

The two species that appeared to be comfortable in Melbourne Zoo were the lizards and snakes. They were kept in enclosures that were warmed well with numerous heat lamps. However, it must be noted that most of the lizards and snakes in the reptilian exhibit were young (evident from their small sizes). I could not help but wonder why this was the case. Could this be due to a high death rate in the zoo's reptilian population? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is an unfortunate possibility.

A Boa Constrictor stretches up towards the heat lamp

An Iguana looking quite content

Baby blue on a baby snake

A teeny-weeny Indian Star Tortoise

A not-so teeny-weeny Indian Star Tortoise bakes happily under a heat lamp

2 snakes snuggling up together

Is it just me or does this lizard have a diva-ish look?

"I'll hide, but who dares seek?"

A Green Tree Python tucks itself away

Another Green Tree Python all coiled up

Finally, I must say that I found Melbourne Zoo to have too many empty exhibits and enclosures.

While this isn't too big of a deal, it did add to the overall sense of disappointment.

~5-Cat Style

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Graveyard of the Flies

This week I had to conduct a few experiments on vinegar flies to work out their genotypes.

As I anaesthetised them with chloroform, I glanced at the thing I was told to dispose of them in...

... the Fly Morgue.

~5-Cat Style

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I have been learning lots...

... from Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer. I have been devouring his books and feasting my eyes on his TV episodes about reading, understanding and correcting a dog's behaviour.

I feel that these are important lessons for all Vets and Vet-wannabes because day in and day out, there will be non-stop dealings with dogs who are nervous, aggressive or scared.

In order to help make the doctoring experience less traumatic for the dogs, as well as to avoid being bitten and mauled, I feel that being armed with such knowledge is invaluable.

Once I'm done absorbing all of Caesar Millan's wisdom, I'll be on the hunt for more such books on cats, horses, etc etc etc.

~5-Cat Style

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I have always wondered...

... if it was man who domesticated the cat or if it was the cat who had domesticated man.

Here's one definition of "domestication" I found...

"I have defined a domesticated animal as one that has been bred in captivity, for purposes of subsistence or profit, in a human community that maintains complete mastery over its breeding, organisation of territory, and food supply. The exception, of course, is the cat which walks by itself."
~ Juliet Clutton Brock (The Unnatural World -- Behavioral aspects of humans and animals in the process of domestication)

~5-Cat Style