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Lions and tigers

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I’ve often been unlucky when I visit the Melbourne Zoo in that the tigers of all varieties are resting or hiding so I don’t get to see them. I’ve worked out what days not to visit ie really hot days. This time we were lucky to see the lions as well as some of the different tiger breeds.

My favourites were the Sumatran and white tigers. Mainly because they were the ones we were able to see. I love panthers but they were hiding. The white lion just sat on the ledge at the back of his enclosure watching all of us watching him. I’d love to know what they are thinking. Lunch maybe? lol One of the two Sumatran tigers wasn’t too bothered by all of us watching him. I think he just wanted to rest. Every now and then he’d let out a big yawn, shuffle around and lay back down again.

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The lions were looking for their lunch. I was a bit worried when one of them looked my way.

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It’s great to see the numbers of Sumatran tigers may be on the rise again. They are such a beautiful breed.

White polar bear

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This white polar bear appeared to be alone in his exhibit. Unless there was another one hiding or asleep in the cave. He roamed from side to side and took a dip in the pool. It was funny watching him contemplate getting back in the water though. He would walk right up to the waters edge and stare at it as if trying to decide if he would risk the cold water again. The picture above shows this contemplation. We thought he would eventually dive in but he didn’t. He kept walking away then coming back.

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Orang-utan Sanctuary

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A few years ago Melbourne Zoo built a new orang-utan sanctuary. Last time I was there they hadn’t quite finished it so I was really looking forward to see the completed sanctuary. There is a lot more room, both under cover and in the fresh air. It is separated into what looks like two areas or it might be one big U-shaped enclosure. It’s hard to tell.

There is a great education centre in the sanctuary but I couldn’t get near it. Being school holidays there were a lot of families around. On the other side I spotted a mother and baby resting together. It was a beautiful moment as the mother moved away, then the baby followed and they shared a tender, playful moment.

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Playful seals and penguins at the Melbourne Zoo

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I’m not sure if the seal pool has moved or I’d lost my bearings but it felt like it was in a different place than the last time I went to the zoo. They have built or upgraded the pool but I was disappointed. There is a much bigger underground viewing area where you can watch the acrobatic feats of the seals but up at ground level there’s not much to see. There were three seals. One of them was showing off on the rocks. I would have said he was sunbaking if he was in the sun. They are still very cute to watch though.

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Just around the corner were the penguins. For some strange reason they were all huddled behind a bush. They looked so funny. I wondered who or what they were hiding from. It wasn’t cold so I couldn’t see why else they were huddled together. They didn’t move a muscle while we were watching them.

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Giraffes

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When we walked up to the giraffe exhibit we could only see the baby eating close by. He/she looked quite big and had to eat from the lower basket on the tree. We realised that there was an adult giraffe on the other side of the exhibit but he/she didn’t look that big. That was until he/she started walking toward us. Suddenly the adult loomed large and was walking straight towards us, almost as if he/she was saying “what are you looking at?”. When the adult reached the baby we realised how small the baby actually was.

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Gorillas at the Melbourne Zoo

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One of the funniest moments we had at the zoo was of the gorillas in the following two photos. The younger one was sitting in the shade of a cave. When he saw the older gorilla moving towards the cave, he quickly got out of there. He knew his place! A few minutes later another gorilla tried to move in there and the older one chased him away. When he caught him he gave him a quick clip across the ear. The younger one just sat and sulked. It was so funny and so human.

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Meercats at Melbourne Zoo

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Meercats are my favourite animal at the zoo. I would really love to hold one but I suspect that would be difficult as they are feisty little creatures. They are just so cute!

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There are three different displays of Meercats at the zoo. One has young ones and they just seemed to lie around. Another exhibit had some very feisty ones. There were five young ones. One stood on top of the rocks ignoring what was going on. The other four were play-fighting. It was so funny to watch. They pulled off some great wrestling moves worthy of a spot in WWE.

Mali….Melbourne Zoo (3rd weekend)

We only had 7 more Mali sculptures to find but they were at different points in the city so we decided to drive in and see what we could.  Our first stop was Melbourne Zoo to see the two sculptures outside the main entrance.  We then drove the short distance to the Royal Children’s Hospital where there was a sculpture in foyer.  There are many other different sculptures in the new hospital which was only opened earlier this year.  Walking into the hospital feels like walking into a hotel or business lobby.  From my point of view they have taken the fear out of visiting a hospital for children.  We then drove to the Docklands so Mum could see the first two Malis I had seen by myself a month earlier when I’d gone to the footy.

After that we drove and parked outside the Royal Botanic Gardens to see the last few sculptures.  It has been a year or so since I’d last been to the gardens and I was keen to walk through them again.  There were 3 sculptures in the gardens and we found them quite easily. 

Once we found the fiftieth Mali, we felt a great sense of achievement.  When Mum and I set out to find them we didn’t realise it would take this long or that we would walk nearly 30kms over the 3 weekends.  It was also a great way of discovering hidden parts of the city.  You would think that there aren’t many new areas in the CBD but we found the Les Erdi Plaza, built at the end of the old Sandridge rail line which has been transformed into a footbridge after many years of neglect.

Mali….Melbourne Zoo (2nd weekend)

Our second weekend looking for sculptures of Mali started the same way the first weekend had started: catching the train in to the city.  This time we got off at Melbourne Central to locate the two we couldn’t find last week.  I discovered they were inside the shopping centre.  From there we walked to Chinatown where we found my favourite Mali: Rusty Mali.  I love this one because it would have taken a lot of time to accumulate the rusty materials.  There were so many different materials.  There were beaters, nuts and bolts, springs and even a tap on the nose.

We walked over to a few hotels that were displaying the sculptures in their forecourts, then over to the Treasury Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Parliament House. The weather was a little cooler this weekend and was perfect walking weather.  We walked north, south and east covering around 14kms.

The painting on the two photos above is just amazing.

Close up detail of the design.  This sculpture is called A Pattern of Orange-bellied Parrots. 

More amazing artwork