Johor Zoo (29th March 2017)

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Johor Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Asia, and while some of the animals have plenty of room and looked healthy, many seemed trapped in small enclosures and did not look in the best condition. Nevertheless, I think it is still worth a visit if you have young children, even if just to discuss the ‘value’ of a zoo. Johor Zoo is located on Jalan Gertak Merah, just opposite the Sultan Abu Bakar mosque, and you park on the roadside outside. It is open from 9am to 6pm and is RM1 for children aged 2 - 12, and RM2 for everyone over 13. We visited in the morning and this is the best time to see animated animals as it is feeding time (elephants are fed around 10am). I understand that the larger animals (lions and tigers) are fed at 5pm. From a photographer’s point of view, the metal bars, net mesh, and reflective glass surrounding the various animals makes it difficult to take good photos, but without such protection your children would certainly lose some fingers!

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All the parrot-like birds were very inquisitive; the white macaw was trying to peck Lawrence’s finger through the glass.

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To the left as you enter the zoo is a large pond with pelicans which I initially took to be concrete sculptures as they barely moved!

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For me, the star creatures in the zoo were the two hippos! You could get quite close to them and see how gracefully they could swim in the pond.

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The deer enclosure housed some ostriches; this one is called ‘Black’ and was enjoying a bucket full of tofu for breakfast!

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The zoo is not so big that you can get lost, and has plenty of snack bars if you need a rest. We headed back around to the elephant enclosure for feeding time and saw a group of kindergarten children also on their way to see the two elephants (most of the animals here are in pairs).

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The camel enclosure was quite imaginative, with the hoarding showing sand dunes and even other camels; hard to imagine what the ‘real’ camels must have thought of the non-moving relatives! This camel looked in distress, but was actually having a sand bath.

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The storks had quite a nice area to play in; clearly they had no need to fly away as long as they were fed regularly.

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We heard the lion long before we saw it. The concrete enclosures make for good acoustics, so we followed the roaring sound until it stopped, and found a sleeping cat! Maybe it was its unseen partner which had been roaring?

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The tigers were quite hard to see as well due to the amount of metal bars between you and them; these were some of the healthier looking animals in the zoo.

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I think that the various monkeys I saw were the saddest looking animals here and I think this is why I am not a great fan of small provincial zoos where space and the notion of enriched environments are lacking.

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Even the crocodiles had very little space to move. So, this even made the concrete enclosures at the Desaru Crocodile Farm seem good for these creatures!

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