Tierpark Hellabrunn, the Munich Zoo

Day 62, Saturday, October 26, 2019

It is a beautiful, sunny, warm day and we are going to the zoo!  It is 20 Celsius!

The Munich Zoo is a Geo-Zoo. As described on their website: “Hellabrunn is not a zoo in the classical sense. It is more of a nature preserve inhabited by animals that live in especially large, structured enclosures. Thanks to an extensive array of ditches and a natural landscape design, the visitor can enjoy the wonderful and unobstructed view of animals that could normally only be obtained on safari.”   I love giraffes, and there were five of them at this zoo. I spent a bit of time sketching one of them while he was busy eating his lunch.  The Meerkats live next door to the giraffes.  This fellow was very busy checking out all the people who were checking him out.
There are lots of birds here. This is the first time I have seen a hornbill  perched in a tree.  They usually walk along the ground.  This Abyssinian Ground Hornbill is a huge bird, about one metre in length and weighing about four kilograms. The Northern Bald Ibis is a very strange looking bird.  They are in a huge aviary with lots of other birds that we walk through.These beautiful Rose Pelicans were busy preening and enjoying the sunshine. We check out a building with lots of different little colourful birds and I didn’t even notice that there was no glass between us and the birds until Bob pointed it out! This is the bat cave, and yes it is full of flying bats, and we walk right into the cave with them!  When I first entered the cave a bat brushed by my hand and startled me.  I hadn’t realized that they were flying all about.  It was almost impossible to take a photo, they move so very quickly and it was quite dark.  The bats are just shadowy blurs in this photo, where they come to feed on fruit hanging fro the ceiling. We move from the tiny bats to this massive Indian Rhino.  This is the first time we have seen an Indian Rhino and they are quite different from the African Rhino.  I loved the way his skin forms armour-like plates.  I absolutely had to try to draw this fellow.  He moved about a bit but was quite a good model!

While I was drawing, I heard a lot of commotion. The Siberian tiger nearby who was roaring and making a lot of noise.  He sure does have huge teeth! The Munich Zoo has a lot of different primates.  This chimpanzee was busy using a stick as a tool to get food out of a box.  He was very possessive of his stick and kept it close at all times.This fellow was showing off swinging to and fro on ropes and had a huge crowd watching him…
but this laid back guy just wanted to take it easy.I always think that the gorillas are watching us as much as we are watching them.  They seem so intelligent and always rather sad. This Sumatran Orangutan mother and her twins were hilarious.  The youngsters would not leave her alone no matter what she did.  They were hanging on to her and pestering her even when she tried to hide in a corner.  As she walked away, one of her youngsters grabbed hold of her hand and slid along the floor behind her.  It just made me laugh.
We waited to see the lions being fed, expecting it to be quite exciting… but it consisted of the two males being separated and then thrown a couple dead plucked chickens.  The lions took their food to a private spot so we couldn’t see them chowing down. We checked back a while later and I said that they would probably be sleeping after their meal.  Here they are, looking very happy and content, and yes, they were sleeping. The elephants were quite far away so I zoomed in for a photo. There were several kinds of penguins.  The Humboldt Penguins live on the coast of Peru and Chile and don’t mind being warm.  The Emperor, and the Rock Hopper Penguins, however, like it cold and they had their own refrigerated area.The Ring Tailed Lemur from Madagascar holds his long tail straight up in the air when it travels on the ground so that everyone in the group can stay together.  That must be quite the sight! We watched this tortoise take forever to climb this tiny little incline.  It was really hard work for her and I so wished I could have just reached in and given her a little bit of help. There was great excitement at the Hamadryas Baboon enclosure.  Lots of screaming and shrieking noises.  It appeared that several of the big males were attacking one of the other baboons. When these four big males come running everyone else clears out, getting away from them as quickly as they can.The other baboons sit on top of the big rocks to watch what is going on from a safe distance.  It was quite something to see and hear.  They are very noisy and it sounded like they were killing one of their own, but we didn’t actually see anyone hurt. Perhaps it was lots of posturing and bluffing?
We see lots of interesting animals, including a Maned Wolf, a Darwin’s Rhea, a Capybara and a Red River Hog.   The Nyalas are beautiful with their striking white stripes and the male is much darker with long yellow-tipped horns. I always love the zebras.  They were mostly farther away but this beauty came close enough for a photo. Not sure that we have ever seen a Reeve’s Muntjac or a Kiang before. Now these are called European Elk, but they sure look like moose to me.  Google tells me this is what a moose is called in Europe.  Interesting little fact. This polar bear had a huge enclosure with a big water area as well as a big grassy, treed area, but it chose to sit in this corner.  Something in the area next to him caught his eye and his reflection was caught in the glassed part of his cage. We are almost finished our visit when we see a crowd of people and go check what they are looking at.  A Linnaeus Two Toed Sloth was making his way across a rope just above everyone’s heads.  It was quite exciting to see him up so close, and yes, they do move incredibly deliberately and very slowly! Now, this was something to see!  This tall slide is in one of the zoo’s many playgrounds. Did you notice all the kids inside the structure?  They are climbing up to the top so that they can slide down.  The inside of the tower is like a giant jungle gym, only really high! There are no safety features of any kind, just lots of little kids climbing way up high on these logs inside the tower.  This is something that we would never see at home due to safety concerns and liability issues.  The kids were all having a great time though! The zoo closes at 6:00 and we are one of the last to leave.  It was an absolutely lovely day.

Here are my zoo sketches… and my metro sketches.