Thursday, August 20, 2015

Burgers' Zoo

Arnhem, Netherlands

My Dutchman took me to visit Burgers' Zoo for my birthday. The zoo is surrounded by the Hoge Veluwe National Park so it's a great area to explore when you need a break from the city. The zoo itself is pretty big and you can spend an entire day walking through. Besides receiving a million and a half visitors each year, Burgers prides itself on its conservation work. It participates in breeding programs for endangered and threatened species under the "European Endangered Species Program," for which it coordinates the programs for Blue Duikers and the King Vulture.

Blue Duiker

The zoo is arranged by habitat and themes. The first section is the original "Dierenpark" which has many of the classic zoo animals, such as the feisty penguins who dominate the entrance with their honking.

Visitors can also observe a variety of primates going about their everyday business, which is better than reality TV. This little guy found himself a peaceful nook where he could properly contemplate lunch...

...while the chimps in the next exhibit watched a heated argument between two of their members. The chimpanzees have a bit of attitude as you can see in this video from last spring when the zoo attempted to film them with a drone.

"Rimba" portrays a Southeast Asian rainforest, where we found some sun bears hanging out.

Not so much a fan of the sun, the water monitor preferred to chill by his pool.

"Desert" is where I found some familiar faces from my time in the southwest US. This habitat features plants and species from the Sonoran Desert. The bighorn sheep looked to have several new members in their herd.

The peccary like to eat prickly pear fruit, but, unlike some of the unsuspecting tourists I met when I worked in Texas, they know to strip the skin first.

For a completely different experience from the desert, follow the path to Burgers' rainforest in their "Bush" exhibit. Here you will find yourself surrounded by lush tropical plants with colorful flowers.

Next is the "Ocean," arranged from tidepools to deep water. Visitors can admire a beautiful coral reef with colorful tropical fish. Also stop to watch the sharks circling a shipwreck.

The "Safari" is a raised boardwalk where you can take a stroll past many African animals.

The grass is always greener...

A cozy little mangrove swamp is tucked in the northern section of the zoo. If you have sharp eyes, you can spot many varieties of birds nestled in the trees.

On our way out, we passed the meerkats. According to the exhibit, meerkats divide up tasks and everyone has a job to do. It seemed to be this guy's job to keep an eye on the tourists. Who was watching who?

Learn more on their website!

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