Wednesday, January 22, 2014

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Unlike its brother, the San Diego Zoo, this park is located in Escondido in beautiful San Pasqual Valley.
The admission to this park is quite expensive, as is the admission to the San Diego Zoo.  That being said, I am still glad we visited it because it is a very unique type of zoo.  The park has 1,800 acres, of which a good part of it is large expanse of land which simulates a savannah of Africa.
We took a tram car through this area and had a guide with us who could point out the different animals.  Pictured above is an eland antelope, the world's largest and slowest antelope.  This animal especially needs a large area of land for grazing. In the park they have lots of land and can move freely about while still being protected from predators.  We also saw in this habitat giraffes, rhinoceros, zebras, deer and a variety of other antelopes, all grazing freely.  It was interesting to see a herd of springboks pronking over a hill.  Pronking can also be thought of as springing, or taking high jumps with all four feet off the ground. 
The park also can be considered a botanical garden with 3,500 species  of exotic tropical plants.  And it features a lagoon where many flamingos, a variety of ducks and herons hang out.  In the foreground of the picture above is an African sacred Ibis.  The park has become famous for its condor breeding program.  We saw a number of them in an enclosure on Condor Ridge, and one of them was a star in the bird show.
Pictured above is Sespe, born in 1983 and oldest of the condors in the zoo.  The trainers tricked him into diving down and going for what he thought would be some tasty prey.  I think that I saw a look of disgust on his face when he discovered that it was nothing to eat!  It was one of the best bird shows we have ever seen with a variety of hawks, ibis, parrots and other birds flying over and around us.  We also saw the African secretary bird in the show and later found him in an enclosed area. We could easily guess why he received that name, he looks like a haughty office manager- all he needs are some glasses and a clipboard!

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