the Central City Zoo

by Annalise on November 4, 2009

Robin and I checked out the zoo the other day. It is just south of us in Patan City and when asking locals about it, they say, rather apologetically that its pretty small. And it is but it was a nice break. The clean, quiet park space may have been the most remarkable feature as mentioned in an earlier blog post.

The animals were in smaller enclosures than we are used to seeing in North American zoos. That was what we’d been warned to see but there was also staff present working on the zoo in a few spots to improve enclosures. We walked around enjoying the hippos, single-horn rhinos, water buffalo, the Asian elephant, several types of monkeys, some very unfamiliar members of the deer family and much more. There were two very still crocodiles, some great big snakes and lots of birds. The central area of the grounds had a man-made lake as well where you could rent the two person paddle boats. With several school groups on the grounds, we certainly were not going to bother. It did provide a lovely backdrop to the gardens and grounds of the zoo. The park like setting appears to bring some people just for the quiet and entertainment.

A main feature of this zoo is the one Asian elephant. They had it harnessed and saddled with a large box frame above several layers of blankets for elephant rides. Understanding that they also provide safari-type elephant rides at the Royal Chewitan National Park, which we plan to visit in December, we didn’t buy a ride. Actually we didn’t see anyone buy a ride. But the elephant is a favorite among visitors for photos and the keepers have trained this elephant to earn its keep, one way or another. In our turn, we were encouraged to get in position to take a photo. I took one of Robin just standing beside the trunk of the elephant while the keeper stood by. As soon as we were done, the elephant walked forward ever so slightly (but very effectively!), reached its trunk into the top of my purse and was clearly looking for a note for the photo. I had to laugh and did extend a small note which the elephant grasped with the finger at the end of its trunk and then brought it back to toward the keeper and dropped it. Some elephants are taught to paint, others are just clever and photogenic!

The afternoon was enjoyed, I’d say as much for the grounds as the animals. We’ll likely do that again.

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