I love animals, am an avid photographer of animals and I had heard the Guangzhou Zoo was probably one of the best in China, as far as a best zoo in China can go. Although it's a few years since visiting, Shanghai Zoo was pretty grim for the most part, and Beijing (apart from the Panda exhibit rustled up for the Olympics) was quite dreadful, too. I decided to go see Guangzhou Zoo, feeling I'd probably walk out saddened and sorry I had been - but I did not. I left happy enough with my day some five hours later.
There are some pretty grim enclosures, granted, but they were in the minority. The poor lions for one. No enrichment, tile / concrete floors, tiny prison-like cages. Why? I just don't get it .... yet the raccoons and red pandas had huge grassy enclosure in comparison - and good for them! A couple of other poor species had grim, lifeless, uninspiring enclosures but for the most part, many of the enclosures were okay. The animals all certainly looked healthy (unlike some of the other zoos I have visited in China) and they have a fantastic diversity of animals. New enclosures have been constructed, with more new enclosures underway, so they are perhaps evolving into the 21st Century of animal exhibiting and care.
I also wanted to to get a panda fix, but they remained locked inside their glassed-in enclosure so were difficult to see, let alone photograph.
Apart from some of the uninspiring enclosures, the locals need a lot of education about viewing animals and to develop some respect. They constantly throw food at the animals or yell and carry on or act like an ape to get a creature's attention despite signs indicating otherwise. That, more than anything nearly drove me bananas. But it is simple ignorance for the most part (like throwing marshmallow to the tigers .... because everyone loves marshmallows, right?!).
Trying to purchase my entry ticket was challenging as they had no ticket instructions in English and the staff were rather grim. The F&B and retail outlets are very average. But the highlight would have to be hand feeding the giraffes. Y10 for a bunch of leaves, I bought several!! I would go back just to do this again. Don't need to spent $K1 staying at Giraffe Manor in Kenya - hah!
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