Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Wild Animal Park

It was a fantastic day for a visit to the Wild Animal Park in the San Pasqual Valley of San Diego County. Jill had managed to get passes from one of the curators who helped arrange for her to get Willie the Watusi. We were able to see his family at the Wild Animal Park. I was of course taking pictures like crazy as was Matt who snapped this one of me, Jill and Sharyn.

This is Willie's family resting on a hill in their area of the Park.

One of the first sights after entering the park is the Flamingo's. Sharyn pointed out something I never knew and if I did forgot, Flamingos are fed paprika to enhance the pink color they exhibit. If that is true or a wive's tale is beyond me and (I actually tried to find this online) Google.

We spent most of the time on the Monorail called the Wgasa Bush Line. There is a funny story behind the name Wgasa I heard and have had verified by several employees of the Wild Animal Park. They have African names for many of the places in the park and when the monorail was put in they were having a tough time thinking of an African name for it. After much discussion one of the employees, frustrated and ready to move on to more important business said "Who Gives A Shit Anyway." Well they took the letters beginning each word and called the monorail WGASA Bush Line. It's true, I swear I didn't make it up.

The first exhibit on the Monorail tour was the elephants and their Stonehenge looking structure.

Next we went over the lion enclosure and were fortunate to stop directly over the big daddy of the feline world who was looking at me hungrily.

Then there were the Zebras...

Next was the Oryx, by the way, is the animal that spawned the legend of the unicorn.

These exotic rams were ramming each other.

For a reasonable fee you can take a photo safari and go into the enclosures. I'm pretty sure this doesn't include the lion enclosure.

There are many antelope roaming the very spacious enclosures in the center of the monorail tour.

While the space is mostly open there are some dividers to keep the compatible animals together. The ravens seemed to like this fence.

Our tour guide did a great job describing the animals and the main objectives of the wild animal park especially the breeding program that is helping bring some species back from possible extinction.

This was a particularity beautiful Antelope.

As you can see in this photo the areas are very spacious and include many different varieties of animals including these Rhinos.

One of my favorite enclosures is this rock filled hillside with mountain sheep.

This giraffe is used to seeing vehicles in the enclosures and is the largest ate the park.

This is a good variety of exotic animals in the East Africa enclosure.

The Przewalski Horses are favorites of many of the visitors. The Przewalski horse - takh in Mongolian - is the sole surviving genuine wild horse in the world, not to be confused with, for instance, the mustang, a descendent from domestic breeds gone wild. The takh is the only wild relative of the domestic horse that has been able to hold out during the course of natural history. It is also unique that after their extinction from the wild in the 1960s and after more than thirteen generations in captivity the Przewalski horses were reintroduced into their natural environment in Mongolia. Przewalski horses are among the most threatened wildlife species in the world. The entire world population consists of no more than 1,435 individual animals. At one time there were only 13 of these horses left on earth.

Then there were the chimps. This one obviously liked basketball and was probably a Lakers fan.

I managed to get a lucky shot of the Lowland Gorilla as we zipped past.

Next we went to the bird show (much cut back from the original show, and saw the green macaw (yes, it's called a green macaw even though it's mostly red) fly over the audience.

The only name I caught for this bird was Chauncy and, sorry, I have no idea of the species. Well actually Scrabble Queen clued me in - it's a ground hornbill.

The Ferruginous Hawk was beautiful and gets it's name from the rusty color of it's wings and body.

We stopped for lunch at the Samburu Terrace.

Where I walked around looking for interesting pictures like this Crown of Thorns plant.

I loved the way they piped in music through these fake rock speakers.

This curious looking Potato Tree was pretty cool.

Diana seemed to be having a really nice time despite not feeling very well.

The landscaping around the park is wonderful and at times enchanting like this waterfall in the Australian Rain Forest section.

The new thing at the park was the balloon ride that Mat and Diana took before we left.

It was windy but pretty cool to rise high above the park in this cage. Because it was windy they only had a few people go up at a time.

The views were spectacular from the gondola. Because I used so many pictures on this blog entry I only put one here and may publish more later when I have a slow picture day.

It is a very international atmosphere they have created here including these Pretoria boxes covering some pipes or electrical boxes I'm sure. I looked up Pretoria online and this is what I found.

Pretoria is the administration capital of South Africa and is located in the northern part of the province, Gauteng. It is estimated that Pretoria has the lowest crime figures in South Africa. The city of Pretoria occupies two beautiful and well-sheltered valleys on the banks of the Apies River.

The earliest occupants, in the seventeenth century, of the site and area that became Pretoria, was the colorful and peaceful Ndebele tribe, who were driven out by a group of renegade Zulus in 1825. The first white men arrived soon after and befriended the chief, Mzilikazi. In a show of power, Shaka the famous king of the Zulus, attacked Mzilikazi and his bandits and drove them into a westward direction, and the area was deserted until 1837.

Scrabble Score ~ Scrabble Queen 355 - The Contender 332

Quote of the Day
"While hunting in Africa, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How an elephant got into my pajamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

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©Paul Viel