Take a look : Antwerpen zoo , Belgium

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Zoo
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

While working as an Au-Pair in Belgium, my host dad bought me a season ticket to Antwerpen zoo. Found myself spending way too much time there just watching the animals (on my own). While for appeal and variety I must say it’s great, but did feel they were a bit behind the times on the welfare end of things.

The beautiful central station as seen from the zoo

Antwerpen zoo could not be easier to get to, literally step out of the Central Station and there it is to your right. It can be seen from all over the zoo, but luckily not heard so easily. It is so much better when visited on a quiet day, I made the mistake of going one sunny Sunday afternoon and there was not a minute’s peace!

One of my favourite parts of the zoo had to be the Lions as they seemed to be the most content out of most large mammals in the zoo. They recently had a new enclosure built which was so much more spacious then the dreary enclosure they had previous (which was not unlike the tiny Tigers enclosure)

Spacious and enriching Asiatic Lion enclosure compared to . . . . .

the not so great Siberian Tiger enclosure.

All over the zoo the animals tend to be really easy to see and up close. This is great for visitors, maybe not so great for the animals, depending. The avian species of animal in the zoo were mostly housed in old style cages with thick black bars. In several cases it would have been easy for an adult or child to put their hand through the bars. I managed to get this beautiful photo of the Caracara thanks to the dreaded cage :

the stunning Caracara posing 🙂

This was before a somewhat ignorant man decided it would be fun to taunt the bird with his map and pull at him from through the bars, the downside of such enclosures.

the Caracara getting frustrated with the man with no sense . .

There was an avian section which I found to be a very clever use of species specific behaviour towards light. Instead of using a solid barrier they used a light barrier to contain the various species of birds as seen below :

The light controlled bird enclosures

My favourite thing about Antwerpen zoo was simply the quaintness of it all, I can only imagine it to be so much nicer in the spring when flowers and trees are in full might. It had a “city park” feel. Aside from when I was evaluating enclosures and feeling sorry for the animals (my degree’s fault) I really enjoyed just wandering around enjoying the sights and sounds 🙂

One of the buildings and gardens within the Zoo

Overall if you don’t mind crude enclosures, pacing big Cats and swaying Elephants then it isn’t an all bad zoo, nice place to take the family or just go for a wander alone!

Finally because everybody loves penguins . . . :

The attention seeker . .

Yawn !

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