17 March 2012

We're going to the zoo!

There's something about kids and zoos that just seem to go together. This year the 4th grade classes got their much awaited trip to the zoo. We went last Friday, after having Thursday off for International Women's Day. When we have a one-day holiday and then one school day it seems to go without saying that at least one family will take the opportunity of having a long weekend, so it seemed like a good day for a field trip. As it turns out, only five children from the two classes missed the trip. Two from my class were away for a long weekend, two had parents say they couldn't go (sadly there have been several nasty bus crashes recently and they weren't willing to let their precious children go on a bus), and one turned up for school after the bus had left (he got to spend the day in 3rd grade).

That left 35 kids, 2 teachers, 2 teacher assistants, 2 extra Khmer assistants, and one mother to squeeze onto our 35-seater coach! It was a bit squeezy, but complaints were not the order of the day. The trip out was pretty good, and it took us just over an hour.

The other side of this bridge was OK.
The road in, complete with beggars.
Once we arrived, we took care of essential business then divided the children into seven groups of five, each with one adult. From there it was off to visit the birds and animals. While this zoo might seem pretty sad by international standards, it's important to remember that this Cambodia is still very much developing. This is the only government funded zoo in the country, and is also a wildlife rescue centre. Many of the animals in the zoo have been rescued from very sad situations. Whenever possible, rescued wildlife are released back into the wild, but sometimes that is just not possible.

Since I last visited the zoo several years ago, there have been substantial improvements. One of these is an excellent teaching display and improved observation area for the bears. Here's my group along with one of their "friends"! Despite the miserable looks on some of the faces they did have a good time.
And here are some of the bears engaging is some friendly rough and tumble.
 While it was awesome to see these magnificent birds up close, I felt a little bit sad that they didn't have room to really fly much.

These cute fellows were all patiently waiting for a feed.
For 500Riel (about 12 cents) you could feed one otter a fish, so some of the students enjoyed doing just that.

And after the feed, a cooling swim.
You can find out more about these special creatures here.
I love this photo. This fellow was one of the wild monkeys who also live at the zoo. He was sitting atop a fence post ever alert for a free feed.
video
One of the most amazing things I saw and heard at the zoo were these monkeys. As you can see, their enclosure has a variety of rings and branches etc to keep them busy, but as they before they started a series of acrobatics they signalled their intention with their voices. Have a look at listen. It's not the best video, but it will give you an idea of just how intriguing it was. You could hear them all over the zoo.

Well, that's all folks! We finished up with some time to play in the adventure playground, followed by gathering under the shaded area, free of monkeys, to eat lunch. After lunch it was back on the bus, and back to school, arriving just in time for going home. A good day for everyone I think! I slept well that night!

1 comment:

  1. Kids love zoos, that's so true! Sounds like a great outing.

    ReplyDelete

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