My First Visit To Hong Kong's Zoological Garden

September 10, 2023

I heard about Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens long ago, and I've been to Mid-Level Central several times, but I have never been to this place. Until one weekend when I had nowhere to go, I opted to visit this zoological garden located on the slope of Victoria Peak, just near Mid-Level Central. And this marked my first time visiting a zoo in my entire life.

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Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens was opened 152 years ago, and is the oldest park in Hong Kong. It occupies a vast area in Central of more than five hectares with more than seven hundred resident animals of different species. This park is also one of the world's oldest historical and botanical centers.

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At the entrance of the garden is a memorial gate for British-Chinese soldiers who died during the 1914 and 1939 wars.

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This is definitely a sanctuary for a weekend retreat while connecting with creatures of mother nature. It has vast greenery and several facilities for visitors to relax and have fun in the place. There are resting places, playgrounds, and kiosks on the premises as well. Although surrounded by tall buildings, it would make you feel as if you are somewhere in the countryside.

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Different species of animals rest in their respective houses consisting of birds, mammals, reptiles, and others. From the area where I entered, I first spotted the Meerkat's Home.

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I was expecting to see a bunch of meerkats, but I only spotted a lonely dude. He seemed to be lonely and looking for some friends to play with. He would run around and go into the pipe tunnel made for them to play and would peek out when visitors came. It is as if he wanted some playmates.

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I left the meerkat's home and walked further up the hill. There I saw the houses of mammals. Some staff of the zoo are explaining to the visitors the information about the animals. Unfortunately, they were talking in Cantonese so I just read the English information board placed next to the houses.

There are four kinds of tamarins in the zoo, but I only spotted three: golden lion tamarin, golden-headed lion tamarin, and cotton-top tamarin. It says there are emperor tamarins too, but I haven't spotted them. Probably in other cages. In all honesty, that was my first time seeing tamarins, so I thought all of these kinds were monkeys. They are family though, lol.

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golden lion tamarin and golden-headed lion tamarin

I assumed this was called cotton-top tamarin because of its white head.

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I wish I had a good camera that could capture good photos from a distance. My phone's camera is only good for indoor shots, and in wide outdoor spaces when the weather is fine. Nonetheless, my eyes are good enough to capture good photos and store them in my own big memory.

The common squirrel monkeys are cute and naughty. They would climb and swing to one place and another, like kids who turn joyful and naughty when there are visitors at home. They want to catch visitors' attention.

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There are several siamang in this zoo which I initially thought were orangutans, but they are actually different. These are more agile with very loud call audible. You could hear their 'whoo whoo' sounds even from the distance. They are playful too and seem outgoing as they want the crowds' attention. I rather not go near them as they seem harmful, not harmless.

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Speaking of orangutans, I spotted a few giant ones. Their house is pretty huge and cool just like in the real jungle with huge tree trunks and jungle nets as their resting spots.

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Unlike siamangs, Bornean orangutans are bigger and I guess more timid and solitary for most of their lives. Some are just sleeping on their nests and seem not to care about the world around them, while a few are swinging from branch to branch.

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A staff came and called the biggest among all orangutans. It rose from its hibernation and swung down to the ground. That's when I found out that orangutans like eating peanuts. She gave him some peanuts and ate them carefully. It was such a timid giant dude but a bit shy in public.

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He received a wide round of applause from the viewers and he remained still, as if trying to absorb things going on around him. But I bet they are smart like humans, so he exactly knew what was going on. He felt flattered, lol.

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Off I went to see lemurs in the next cages. There were quite a lot, actually. I thought they were tarsiers, lol.

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While others were playfully swinging from one side to another, these two black and white lemurs were comfortably chilling on the sides with their legs up, as if they were relaxing in a spa, lol. They seemed to not want to be disturbed. They have their own world.

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There are ring-tailed lemurs too and these are more social.

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Next, are distinct monkeys called de brazza's monkey from Africa. This kind of monkey isn't social and practice monogamy. So only a few, including breeding offspring are in this zoo. They look timid and lonely though.

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On the other side are undoubtedly agile, the white-faced saki. They would leap from one branch to another and couldn't stay put on one side a for long period.

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Can you see that saki in the middle of the photo above? Not the one climbing on the cage, but the one that only the head can be seen. That is Charlie who has two new babies. The staff came and called Charlie, but everyone in the cage came over, lol. While, we, the viewers just laugh at the thought of them looking similar, so it's hard to identify which is which.

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The babies just turned 100 days old. So in celebration of their birthday, there were wooden plates given to visitors, usually to kids, to write down their wishes for Charlie's babies. Cute to imagine, and I wanted to write one, but I was ashamed to do so. Just let kids do it, I thought, haha.

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The last mammals I spotted were the extremely agile buff-cheeked gibbons. These come from small groups and consist of monogamous pairs as well. There were only a few inside the cage, brown and black gibbons.

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They are truly agile, especially that brown little one. It would travel and swing from one side to another unstoppably, like a kiddo showing off his brachiation talent.

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Apart from mammals, there are reptiles in this zoo as well. Different kinds of tortoises and sliders are among those.

This African spurred tortoise is the 3rd largest continental tortoise species in the world and can grow up to 76 cm in length. (That was based on the information I read on the board)

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These are red-eared sliders from North America.

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The love birds, I mean, elongated tortoises, seemed to have done mating when I spotted them. The information says its skin around the eyes and nose would turn pink during the breeding season around July and August. I was right at all. It was August when I visited the zoo, and they seemed to be done mating when I spotted them, lol.

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From mammals and reptiles corners to birds. There are different species of birds in different bird houses, as well as wild plants. Unfortunately, I only spotted a few since some houses were already closed for public viewing, while in some houses, birds were hiding from bushes and trees.

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Some of the resident birds in this zoo include toucans, spoonbills, cranes, pigeons, ducks, pheasants, hornbills, and others.

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While checking the birds, I remember there are flamingos in this zoo too. So I immediately find the house before it closes. Gladly, I was able to enter and it was closing soon.

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These are American flamingos with vibrant reddish and orangish pink plumage. I first saw pink flamingos in Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui and there are more flamingos there compared to this zoo.

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The number of flamingos in this zoo can be counted, and there are Hawaiian geese in the house as well. Feathered friends indeed flock together.

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Those flamingos look graceful and stunning while navigating in the water. They are the prettiest kind of bird for me. I couldn't agree more. The stone plates for feeding are as cute as the birds with matching colors that add beauty to the place. Despite the unpleasant smell caused by the feeds, I enjoyed watching those beautiful flamingos gracefully walking in the water. They are like feminine ladies. And I honestly can't identify the male flamingos.

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When I heard about this zoo, I was expecting to see tigers, lions, snakes, crocodiles, and other animals, but there aren't 😅. So only limited kinds of birds, reptiles, and mammals are here.

That's all for today's story. In my next blog, I'll bring you to the Botanical Garden situated just within the premises.

Since this talks about animals, I want to submit this to #AmazingNature free topic contest.

Thanks for stopping by.

(All photos are mine)

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