White Bengal tigers, snow leopards, yaks...
Urumqi Travel Blog› entry 14 of 17 › view all entries
May 12th, 2008 – by: portia
I had been told the new wild animal park is the first of its kind in China, where the animals are roaming outside while you see them in your car, and there are snow leopards there, so I thought I would give it a try.
I was told to take the bus No. 528 in front of the hotel, so I did. When it annouced "the zoo", I got off! I was still in the city, and this can't be the wild animal park.
The park was about 35km outside of the city and occupied an area of 75 square miles.
Today was not a busy day at the park, one of the women passenger said that her relatives were here when it was real busy and had problem getting on the tram at the stops, and had to walk.
We rode into the park, and first we saw some wild asses, and then several ostriches were seen near the road. They came right to the window, and the driver told us to close the windows. The ostriches were pecking at the window, hopefully not because they were mad. Then we saw the giraffe. It was next to a platform, where people could see him at his height. We got off the bus and went to the platform. Note that the giraffe was right there, we could have walked right under him if we were crazy enough to try. On the platform, there were bunches of branches with gree leaves for sale, 3RMB each, to feed the giraffe. No wonder he was here! So we had some fun and photo ops with touchable giraffe.
Then we drove past the bears, tigers and lions to the high mountain area at the far end of the park. Yaks can be seen beside the road, and onthe hills next to the road while we drove by. Then we got off the bus again, and climbed some stairs for a better view of the blue sheep on the rock ridge above. Binoculars were mounted for people to use, but I also had my own. The big blue sheep had circular horns and was very impressive looking. Only he was very far and high up, so even with zoom lens, I still have only a very small photo of him. Down in the valley were herds of asses or maybe Mogolian horses, they were also very far and hard to identify.
Then we made verious stops to see the tigers, lions, woves, bears, etc. They were in very large enclosed fields, the tigers were resting on raised platforms with roofs, the lions were on the ground.
Then we came to the walking area in the park, where there were kangaroos, many birds, an area for a show where parrots were the main attraction. Peacocks, cranes of at least 3 different kinds, pelicans, emus, pheasants, docks, swans, geese etc were all over the place. You have to be careful where you step, the place was a literal land mine! I wanted to take some photos of the cranes, and walked toward them, then stood still. After a while, one of them decided I was fair game, and came right up to me and pecked at my fanny pack!
Then there were monkeys and more monkeys, they were in an enclosed area, where we could walk in. We also had chance to buy 3RMB worth of peanuts to feed them. But I think the monkeys mostly came up to the people and take the whole bag of peanuts without being invited.
Then there were rhinos, elephants, chimps etc, which I did not bother to see because I spotted the white Bengal tigers! They were in an area of their own, open, large and with a ditch separating the people from their space. The 2 of them were alert and active, and I took many photos of them. I will upload some later because I used the camera raw format and can't convert them to jpeg on the road. The photos uploaded so far are from my little camera. I even got a photo of the tiger raising his tail to mark a rock! Being able to see the Bengal tigers walking around and taking photos was the best part of this day.
It was almost time to leave, I saw some enclosures nearby and found they were for a jaeguar, a couple of snow leopards but I didn't see the polar bears.
We had spent almost 3.5 hours here! It didn't feel like that long, but we had a good time seeing many animals, some real up-close. This is definitely a good model for a wild animals park, and much better than the zoo we saw in Lhasa. The big animals seemed to be much happier here with the space they had, and people were far enough away to not be able to cause trouble for the animals. I am not so sure about the live chicken feeding, however.
They also had another area with animal show, these animals were tigers, lions and bears, they were in cages behind the tent, but no show were offered to the visitors, perhaps not enough people to worth their bother.
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