Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to camp out overnight at Sydney's Taronga Zoo for an event they call 'Roar and Snore'. For a self-confessed animal lover, a visit to the zoo doesn't get much better than this!
It's been such horrible weather here in Sydney for the past month or so, so I had some reservations about actually attending the Roar and Snore on the specified date. In the end though, I decided that the rain was only going to be a problem for me if I let it. That didn't stop me from stacking up on raincoats, hats, boots and umbrellas!
|I think these Asian Elephants were the only ones enjoying the rain!|
|Some of the others were clearly upset with the dismal weather!|
Following this, we had a fantastic dinner and set off on our guided Night Safari tour of the zoo. Now this wasn't my first time to Taronga, but it was my first time walking around with a torch and playing hide & seek with the animals. It was interesting to see how some were definitely more active at dusk, while others were more than happy to find a warm dry spot to snuggle up for the night. I think this part of the experience would have been a thousand times better but for the rain. But it didn't matter, we still had the chance to hear some great stories about where each of the animals had come from, who they were breeding with, and where they were going to go next. As well as some tales of their individual personality quirks! Unfortunately we were unable to take any photos at this stage (we can't blind them!).
We had an early start the next day. After a quick breakfast and three cups of coffee (because of my lack of sleep due to dreams of escapee bears) we headed out for our first behind the scenes tour. We trekked around the zoo until we reached the Giraffe exhibit. Here, we were greeted by a lovely keeper man who opened the gate and ushered us in. He taught us a lot about the Giraffes, including their prevalence in the wild, their breeding habits and their specific dietary needs. Then we were lucky enough to feed them!
Following this the group was led to a classroom where we were able to get up close and personal with some of Australia's furriest friends. We met a sleepy little Possum, a Quokka and a quirky Koala. The keepers gave a talk about the importance of preserving the environment for these guys, and it was so great to hear that the kids in the group had all the right answers when it came to being environmentally responsible.
Our next behind the scenes experience took us to the Seal Show arena. Here we were introduced to a lovely male New Zealand Fur Seal named Mav. He was such a charming young seal and was quick to show us just how smart he really is. Mav was treated to a tasty fish breakfast and let us all give him a pat!
The entire experience was also a great way to learn about Conservation. I am already a pretty strong anti Palm Oil advocate, and have long since cut the horrid substance from my regular diet. But we learnt about other things we can do to play our small part, like recycling your mobile phone to relieve the pressure on Gorilla habitats by mining for Coltan, and buying only ethically sourced fish to avoid the mass killing of wildlife that get swept up in trawling nets.
At the end of the Roar and Snore we were free to spend the rest of the day at the Zoo and re-visit some of our favourites. It was so wonderful to be wandering around before the public opening time and seeing some of the animals at their most active. This was especially the case for the Sumatran Tiger and her three cubs. Overall it was an amazing experience I will never forget. Hell, I'll probably go again!
For anyone in Sydney or anywhere else really who is interested in finding out more about Taronga Zoo's Roar and Snore click HERE!