London Zoo

29 July 2007

I’m going to jump to Day 15 today. It’s one of the days where we get to plan our own things to do and places to visit in London. Before this, we were on a one-week tour to some parts of Britain, Scotland and Ireland, where everything is very much fixed by the itinerary. I’ll come back to that when I finish off with this zoo stuff.

We just finished having lunch at Bayswater where we took the tube to Camden Town, which is the nearest station to London Zoo. We decided to go to London Zoo on today itself. Among all, I think I was the one who was feeling the most excited. I love going to the zoo. I don’t know why. Well, part of the reason was that I wanted to see the gorillas.

When we got to the zoo, it was already 3:30pm and the zoo closes at 5:30pm. Not that we didn’t want to come earlier but we had spent the morning at Madame Tussauds with such long queues, it took us an hour just to get the tickets. We only had 2 hours to spare in the zoo, so we had to prioritise in getting to visit animals we wanted to watch the most first. The first would be the GORILLAS! And I made sure we watch the Penguin Feeding Time at 4:30pm. These two items will be able to satisfy my soul in London Zoo.

I’ve never seen a gorilla in my life, except on the television so when I finally get to see one quite closely at the Gorilla Kingdom, it was just awesome! The crowd just loved Bobby, especially when he pooped and ate his own poop. And then purposely ran towards the glass wall and gave it a good bang. Below is a picture of Bobby.

Bobby the Gorilla

This is taken from one of the signage at the zoo. I took a picture of it but was too blurry so let me quote it for you….

Bobby came to London in 2003 from Rome Zoo which had rescued him in the late 1980s from a circus. Born in the wild he was illegally captured for the circus as a baby in about 1983. Despite such a difficult start to life, Bobby is a very gentle giant. It takes him a few months to get to know a new face, but then he will welcome keepers with a mutual grooming session. The fact that he was wild-born means he is genetically important for the breeding programmer.

Zaire is another gorilla staying together with Bobby outside at the open space but I didn’t get a good shot of Zaire as she was standing quite far away.

Zaire is now past breeding age but is a long standing London resident, arriving in 1984. Her age and experience will make her important as the gorilla group grows; older females help with group stability. She is very interested in humans and is very intelligent, which made her a good study for actor Andy Serkis who worked here researching his role as "King Kong". They built up quite a friendship!

Effie is another cute gorilla. She’s only 14 years old. Bobby is 23 years old and Zaire is 33 years old.

Bobby the Gorilla

Effie is a newcomer to London from Germany. She arrived in 2007 for the opening of Gorilla Kingdowm and we hope she and Bobby are going to get along just famously. Gorillas are very social animals so introducing them is an important and complicated process. So far things have gone really well and the group are showing a lot of interest in each other.

Slightly before 4:30pm, we got ourselves a spot to stand before they feed the penguins. I like penguins a lot too!

Penguin at London Zoo

To view more photos at the zoo, click here.

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