Friday, February 22, 2013

Gladys Porter Zoo, Part Two

Perhaps a large reason we enjoyed the Brownsville zoo, besides the fact that it has a large variety of animals, and birds on display, is the fact that it is a beautiful park.  On its 28 acres there are natural enclosures for the animals as large rocks and cave-like structures, and it also has  flowing streams and tumbling water-falls.  Not to also mention the fact Brownsville lies on sub-tropic land where there are tall swaying palms, blooming hibiscus and bougainvillea, as well as many desert shrubs and cacti.  Pictured below is a napping sun bear whose home is Southeast Asia. The picture should give you a small idea of the natural beauty of the zoo.
Our docents were quite eager to show us some of the endangered species which the zoo has.  Of the 350 species represented, nearly 50 are endangered.  The Arabian oryx is a tiny antelope who, in 1962, was discovered to be rapidly dying out.  Porter Zoo hopes to increase the herd and return it to Oman.  The animal was first mentioned in written history as the fabled unicorn.  A side view of the oryx does give the appearance of a single horn on its head.
I am misleading my readers a bit with the above picture.  Mama oryx does have one horn, she had to have it surgically removed.  In the African section of the zoo the gazelles and giraffe are penned together.  I could not pass up taking a picture of those two animals sizing each other up! 
In the Australian section of the zoo we saw a couple of mama kangaroos who had babies in their pouches. We noticed only a part of one of the joeys sticking out of his mother's pouch, unfortunately he had crawled in backwards and we could only see the feet.  Judging by the length of the feet, it was an older joey.  Our guides informed us that they get kicked out of the pouch by 8 months of age.  One of the most dangerous birds in the world can be found in New Guinea and Australia.  The bird, a cassowary, has been known to fatally injure New Guinea natives by kicking and slashing them with its dagger-like claws.  Mating can only be done when the female is in a peaceful mood.  She is generally about 5 feet tall and 125 pounds, the male is smaller.  He has the responsibility of incubating their eggs and rearing of the young.  I was fortunate that the bird came out from under his shade tree for me to get a picture.  My what big scarey claws he has!
 Our guided tour of the zoo lasted 3 hours, I don't believe the docent-led tours usually last that long, but our guides had a lot to share with us and we, in turn, had many questions.  It was one of the best tours we have ever taken of a zoo, and we felt that we had learned a lot.  There is so much more I could share with you about our time there, the zoo also has a wonderful free-flight neotropical aviary as well as a Macaw Canyon.  On our own we explored the herpetarium, as well as the butterfly and botanical gardens.

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog! I stumbled upon it while looking at Farmington, Missouri, which is were I work now. I would recommend a trip through the Loess Hills with a stop in Moorhead, Iowa. It is a beautiful place to visit! I grew up there and didn't realize all the neat history around me until I was an adult. The soil is called loess (pronounced like luss) and it's only found there and in China. It's silt from the glaciers. There are beautiful rolling hills and wonderful lookouts to stop at; along with beautiful churches and shops. Like your blog and it looks like you're having fun!