Belfast Zoo is one of those places that as a local I tend to ignore. I don’t know why; I know it’s there but outside of school trips it’s not somewhere I;ve often visited. I started this project as I wanted to expose myself to the unexpected and this trip fitted that requirement perfectly.
As I’ve said before I had an idea of how I would like this project to work, but ultimately I would have no control as to the path it takes. That would, for the most part be down to Nuala. She mentioned several weeks ago about the Zoo and I said it would fit well in with what we were trying to do.
I thought it would be just a quick walk around the area with a few meet and greats but it turned out to be so much more. We met the manager of the Zoo at the front door and immeditley headed to meet the elephants. What I didn’t realise was that we’d be going on a behind the scenes tour. We would also get to meet all the people who look after the animals and help run the zoo. I was really looking forward to hearing their personal stories about the animals.
Most people I know have never washed elephant’s feet but thats something Nuala can check off her list. The keeper asked the elephant to come in from outside to see us, I stood in awe at the size of the female that trundled in from outside. This was part of her daily routine so she turned round, raised her feet one at a time to a small opening in the railings. The keeper demonstrated the technique to Nuala then she repeated the process.
After this we headed round the corner to see the Giraffes. This was a particularly enjoyable stop as one of the Giraffes was called Finn, as is Nuala’s young son. So Finn got to feed Finn, there was a considerable size difference between the two boys!
We couldn’t visit Belfast Zoo and not see the primates. We were introduced to the Zoo’s band of gorillas. The keepers to the area where they can have direct contact with them. There was no glass panels between us and the gorillas, we were as close as the keepers would normally be. The gorillas that came over to see us were as curious as we were about them. After passing them a few bananas through the railings we departed for the sea lion enclosure.
The zoo have a heard of sea lions that they care for and as a result they need to get in close to examine them. This time there was no fences or wire grills, we walked right in to the enclosure and met a sea lion called Stella. The keeper demonstrated to Nuala how to check Stella’s flipper, Nuala then followed his instructions and had a go herself.
If you’ve not been to visit Belfast Zoo I highly recommend it. Check their website out via this link.
If you’d like to contact me in regards to anything you’ve seen here head to the contact page and fill out the form.