Taipei Zoo

For the first time in years, I had occasion to take my 27mm pancake lens off of my camera and use my 90mm. I could feel how out of practice I was taking photos of anything other than my kid. Still, I got a few shots I was happy with.

I’m ambivalent about zoos. I understand that they can serve a function in conservation efforts, and that many zookeepers are doing the best they can for the animals’ well-being with the resources they have. But seeing these animals in cages still brings me close to tears. Sunday was the first time I’d been to a zoo since I was a child, I think.

All of that is to say that this post comes to you with mixed feelings. Joy at getting to start working some of those photography muscles again. Sadness at seeing these beautiful animals locked up in cages, even though it was clear that some effort had been put into making the cages nice for the animals, and giving them places to go to be away from people if they wanted.

I need to work out a way to share my photos online again, but for now, a blog post will do.

Two large lizards bask in the hot midday sun on an angled, wooden roof; the nearest lizard has long, floppy spikes running the length of its spine, has a white head, and a yellow body; the furthest lizard’s spikes lay flat against its back, and is all brown
A very small, bright blue frog with black spots; it’s back is turned towards the camera
Poisonous frog
A lizard in profile, mottled green and brown, with small spikes running the length of its spine and belly, and illuminated by rays of sunshine, grasps a branch between its thumb- and finger-like claws; on its head is a large, flat protuberance
A fluffy animal, about the size of a of a very large card, with a long red- and black-striped tail, walks in profile; it has red fur on its body, black fur on its legs, and its face is similar to a raccoon, but is red, white, and black
Red panda

I got pretty lucky with the red panda. Their cage was constructed so that they had a large space they could go without being seen, and that’s where all three were hanging out. But I was standing there, waiting while the rest of the family went to the bathroom. When the noise quieted a bit, one of the pandas paraded out and down right in front of the wires making up the front of the cage. After everyone got out of the bathroom, we waited patiently to see if it would come out again, but it didn’t.

A large, black bear sprawls on its back on some mossy rocks in the shade, its chin pointing straight up; just visible on its chest is a stripe of white fur
Taiwan Black Bear

This is a terrible photo. I was shooting through some really dirty glass, which is why it’s so hazy. But this large, beautiful bear, all sacked out on some cool rocks in the shade on pretty hot day was just too much. I couldn’t delete this photo.

A large, deer-like animal with reddish brown fur and thin, vertical, white stripes, walks across some loose stones in front of a wood fence; it has long, twisted horns protruding from its head
Two brown, furry animals; the hair on their forelegs is long and shaggy, but it’s short everywhere else; they have long faces, and long, curling horns protruding from their heads
I forget what these are, they look like goats, but they had a different name
An elephant extends its trunk towards the ground towards a spray of water coming up from the ground Close-up of an elephant’s head, with its trunk curled back into its mouth

The birds were my favorite part of the zoo. The bird enclosure felt less sad than everything else. The enclosure was larger than most of the others; especially relative to the size of the animals trapped within. It was one large space with a net over the top so the birds were all free to roam and mix.

A large black and white bird stands in profile; it’s legs are black; it’s neck, wings, and tail feathers are white, and the feathers on its back are black; it’s face is black with white and a little pink around the eyes; a spray of thing, golden feathers springs from the back of its head like a crown. Two large black and white birds face each other on the bank of a pond; the bird on the right has its wings spread wide as it faces the bird on the left
Gray Crowned Cranes
A large bird stands in the shade amongst some trees; it’s head and neck are covered in dark blue feathers; it’s wings have three layers of feathers, a black and tan marbled pattern, followed by the same dark blue as the neck feathers, followed by a warm light brown; the tail feathers are long, green, blue, and tan
A small, dark blue bird perches on a branch next to a banana; the bird’s face is bright yellow and white, its beak is a bright orange, and the top of its head is colored a deep red
A small bird on a perch next to an empty clay dish; the bird’s head and chest are white, which fades to black tail feathers; its wings striped black and brown with white tips; three thin strands of feathers sprout from the top of the bird’s head
Crested Pigeon
A plump bird perches on a branch; it’s head is a bluish gray, and its body dark; long green, blue, and yellow feathers sprout from its head and lay flat against its body, almost like hair
Nicobar Pigeon
A large bluish gray bird walking along a cement path; its shoulders are a brownish red, with white accents; it has a thin beak, giving its face a somewhat pinched look; its eye is a deep red surrounded by dark blue, almost black, feathers like makeup; the feathers on its head are long and wispy
Crowned Pigeon
A bright pink bird stands in profile next to a fallen log; its beak is very long and thin, and curves slightly down
Scarlet Ibis
Three camels stand around a tree; their fur is brown, and on the front and back of their necks, their shoulders, and the tops of their two humps, the fur is long and shaggy; one camel is down on one knee, as if its taking a knee to pose for the camera

I love these camels, posing like they’re in a boy band.