Following up on my post about the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London, I wanted to write about its descendant, the Zoological Society of London (or Z-as-in-Zed-S-L) in Regent’s Park.

London Zoo is a bit out of the way by public transportation. The Underground skirts the edge of Regent’s Park, making a single stop at the southern gate before veering off north for Camden. From there you board a crawling bus headed up some charmless back street, or take a pleasant (but very long) walk to the northern edge of the park. Michelle and I did both one May afternoon and got to the zoo about an hour before closing time.

ZSL isn’t a big zoo, but it manages an impressive collection. The exhibits are all very modern and as natural as they can be given the limited space. We spoke to a few of the keepers and they seemed enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

As is often the case in London, ZSL has some unique history. It was the first zoo opened specifically for scientific research; for its first twenty years it wasn’t even open to the public. Charles Darwin became a fellow of the zoo in 1839 and one resident, an orangutan named Jenny, inspired him with her near-humanity.

With limited time to look around, there was one animal I knew I must see: the okapi. It’s not much to look at, but this awkward, donkey-like ungulate, native to the Ituri Rainforest of central Africa, is famous for managing to elude science until 1901.

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Here are a few more pictures from the San Diego Zoo. It was such a big park — we spent an entire day there and I took almost 500 pictures — so there will be a part 3 later.

Jaguar

Jaguar ⤴

I snapped these in a hurry and honestly didn’t expect anything to turn out. The light wasn’t great, but I really liked how the jaguar was partially hidden by the log. It looks almost like it’s stalking its prey.

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San Diego Zoo is big. Maybe not the largest zoo we’ve been to in terms of physical size, but definitely in “animals-per-hectare” (my new metric for this sort of thing). I flagged 111 photos to process, and it was taking me so long I decided to take a break and move on to other sets. Here are a few photos from the first ~1/3 of the day.

Koalas, San Diego Zoo

Koalas ⤴

San Diego Zoo has a huge, repeat, huge colony of koalas. I was unprepared for just how many they were. This was our first stop of the morning and the light was beautiful. The sun gave them some wonderful edge lighting. I think the koalas have recently given birth, so as of April the exhibit is probably crawling with babies.

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It’s been a few weeks since I updated, so I’ve got a lot to catch up on. Back in June, Michelle and I took a short road trip down to Columbus. The major reason we went was to visit The Wilds, a huge, open-air nature preserve run by the Columbus Zoo.
Pere David\'s Deer

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Meet Viktor and Talya, the Toledo Zoo’s new tiger cubs. They were born in September and put on exhibit early this year. Last weekend, Michelle and I finally got over to the zoo to see them. The zoo is great this time of year – the animals are more active in the cold then they are in the summer, and there are hardly any people there.

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