Monday, 20 April 2009

Happy birthday to zoo

There aren’t many cities on the planet that can boast an 11km park running through the centre of town. Fewer still that can boast a 100,000-square-metre replica of African and Madagascan landscapes - plus animals - living at the end of one. But Valencia is one of the lucky few. The city's one-year old Bioparc represents one of the world’s latest "immersion zoos" - zoos that meticulously recreate animal habits for their continued wellbeing without obvious bars or cages. By effectively recreating natural habitats with the same ecosystem, immersion zoos allow their animals to behave and mix as they would in the wild: washing, grazing, playing and, hopefully, breeding. I took my lady to the zoo for her birthday (as you do) and we were thrilled to see every one of these activities undertaken by a mixed bag of animals, without an obvious care in the world. Like them or loathe them, you'd have to admit after closer inspection that zoos don't get more comfortable than this. Just look at this happy fella above. A photographer friend Juergen Horn ( was taking full advantage of the giraffe-eyeview platform when he captured this proud beauty. Have a look at the write up here (

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