Sunday, September 9, 2012

Taipei Zoo Part I: Formosan Animals and Insect House

One of the few zoos I've been to outside of North America is the Taipei Zoo. It's probably the largest zoo on the island of Taiwan. (Its Wikipedia page makes the claim that it's the largest zoo in Asia, but I'm less certain about that and the citation link for it is broken.) Overall it's a pretty decent zoo; not quite on par with the top American zoos I've been to, but it has a good variety of animals and most of the exhibits are of acceptable quality (a number, however, visibly suffer from overcrowding).

As is common for many zoos, the first exhibit one sees upon entering is a pond with several species of flamingos.

A nearby section of the zoo features native Formosan (=Taiwanese) wildlife. Here's a sika deer, the Formosan subspecies of which is endemic to the island. Historically these were common all over the place, but in the wild are now restricted to a population of around a thousand individuals in southern Taiwan.

Blurry and poorly-taken photo of some wild boar. Having eaten wild boar on various occasions I can say they're delicious.

A leopard cat.

A crested serpent eagle. As one can guess, this species preys mainly on snakes. Right next to its exhibit was a clouded leopard enclosure, though I didn't see the clouded leopard during my visit this summer. I bring it up only to mention that the Formosan clouded leopard is thought to be extinct, and so the individual exhibited isn't actually from the island.

A Formosan black bear, another endemic subspecies, this time of the Asiatic black bear.

Formosan macaques, which are an actual endemic species to Taiwan. Wild ones can be commonly seen in some of the mountains there.

A brown wood owl.

A long-nosed squirrel. It was jumping and scurrying around the exhibit, as squirrels tend to do, so this was the best photo I got of it.

A male Swinhoe's pheasant, an endemic bird species.

Taipei Zoo is the only zoo I've ever been to that exhibits pangolins, so I was very excited to see one out and about this time. So excited that I couldn't get a good picture of it!

There's an insect house near the Formosan animals area. I went through it rather quickly so these photos aren't really representative of the place. Here's a stick insect of the genus Megacrania.

A Lan-Hsu giant katydid.

There was an area with various free-flying butterflies, all local species.

I got a nice photo of a leaf butterfly there.

There was a small area that exhibited nocturnal insects, including this one, which what I think is some sort of stag beetle. I mostly learned my lesson from past zoo trips and remembered to photograph signs of animal species I didn't think I'd remember afterward. This time though there was the small snag that some of the photos I took of the signs turned out too blurry to read easily.

Some king mealworms.

A whirligig beetle.

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