A sparsely populated zoo in winter.
This is one of the two major zoos operated by ZSL, but is nothing like its sister London Zoo. Zoos have their own strengths. At London Zoo, it is the indoor enclosures like the rainforest house. Whipsnade, on the other hand, is absolutely enormous, more like a safari park, and the outdoor enclosures are where it excels. Sadly, we visited at the wrong time of year, and the icy weather meant that many animals were in their winter slow-down, and half of the zoo was empty.
As reptile keepers ourselves, we were hoping to enjoy the reptile house, but I think a lot can be said by the total lack of pictures that I took in there. This gallery therefore concentrates instead on the animals that were braving the British cold.
- White-faced saki monkey, from South America.
- Alpaca. Looks like this one is called Dick. Maybe he deserves it.
- Fred the llama.
- Fred with Monday and Winnie, the southeast Asian zebu.
- Picchu and Fred. Still llamas. In case you forgot.
- Indian elephant in the pen. They also have a huge paddock.
- Elephant calf.
- Mara, a South American rodent. Despite the zoo being divided into geographic areas, these don't seem to care, and roam freely throughout the parkland.
- Resting maras.
- Indian rhino. Well, the sign claims they are actually Nepalese. I wonder if the rhinos know.
- Nepalese rhino is not impressed with being called Indian. "Right, I'm off!".
- Indian rhinos of Nepal.
- Bactrian camels, the type of camel that can cope with extremely cold conditions of the Asian mountains. Britain never gets as cold as the natural habitat of these animals; -40°. Britain also never gets as hot as the 40° of their natural habitat's summer.
- Sloth bear, from India. Or maybe this one is from Nepal too.
- Tiger. Taken through horribly hazy perspex, so this picture needed a lot of tweaking to make it look reasonable. It is not my favourite picture; it is, frankly, rubbish. But you can look at it anyway.
- Cheetah coalition in the African zone. The cheetah enclosure is one section of the zoo that looked really well done, giving the animals places to hide but still be visible, and actually feeling like a lot of effort had gone into making it look good.
- Cheetah sentry.
- The better hide, made from dried mud, so it looked like a natural hollow. That is a very relaxed sentry.
- Hippo mother and baby.
- Lioness on guard. This was another well done enclosure, using one-way glass to keep the lions comfortable, while making them very easy to see. They had chosen to rest right beside the glass, waiting for the photographers.
- Lion pride, doing what lions do.
- Male lion, clearly the African version.
- Sleeping lioness.
- I was asleep. Until you came along.
- Reticulated giraffe.
- The European moose. This could also be called a Eurasian elk, but then that makes it easy to confuse with the American elk, which is a totally different animal. So it's a moose. These are another animal that can cope with extremely cold conditions, and Britain is never too cold.
- Wolverine, another animal that can cope with the cold conditions of the Scandinavian mountains; Britain is no problem. I have seen their footprints crossing a Norwegian glacier. These are relatives of weasels, badgers and otters.
- Wallaby. What are you doing here in the Europe zone?
- Eurasian lynx, the largest of its family, and the largest wild cats in Europe. These cope with the Carpathian Mountains, Alps, Scandinavian mountains and Siberia. Britain is a luxury.
- Spotted version of the Eurasian lynx, cleaning its paws. It is a wild cat, after all.