official opening of the Serval enclosure at Blijdorp

Yay for Spring! Yesterday, Heiko and I once again visited Blijdorp Zoo; this time for the Vrienden van Blijdorp AGM and the official opening of the new Serval enclosure. What started off as a very foggy morning turned into a beautiful, warm spring day with blue skies and sunshine.

After coffee and cake aka “a gooey chocolate muffin fix” ;-) we headed into the Oceanarium for the AGM. We chose to sit in the second room where the video from the main auditorium is projected, because on our right hand side was a glass wall with a view of the sharks and the large sea turtles which were swimming close by the window. A very nice view!

After the AGM we had drinks with the other members of Vrienden van Blijdorp and then left to have some lunch before the official opening of the Serval enclosure at 14:00.

When we arrived at the Serval enclosure there was already quite a large gathering. Through the glass we could see one of the Servals and nearby the sign for the enclosure was boarded up with wooden planks.

To mark the opening, the wooden planks were removed by Greet and Henk Gerritse and the two Servals were let out into the outdoor part of their enclosure.

Servals are medium-sized African wild cats with beautiful markings, as you can see in these images.

One of the Servals was a little timid and stayed in the same place whereas the second boldly walked around the enclosure finding small cuts of meat to feed on.

This serval knew there was meat nearby, but where was it?

Found it…

Ooooh more meat somewhere here…

mmm ;-)

You can see in the image below that the first serval still had not moved from it’s spot.

Eventually, with it’s body close to the ground, it carefully and slowly crept along the fence line and paused behind a rock, keeping a watch on the crowd of onlookers.

Meanwhile the second one was enjoying all the snacks!

Their new enclosure is so much nicer than their previous space, and so much bigger too :-) Zebra, giraffe and greater kudu occupy the adjacent enclosures and were keeping a close watch on their new neighbours.

All but three of the giraffe were outside and whilst we were there we watched two males necking (fighting). Necking is where each giraffe alternately swings it’s head and hits the other (usually on the rear) with their horns. The longer the neck the heavier the head is and the greater the force in which the giraffe hits the other. The large male, Fehari, had the advantage and the smaller male must surely have ended up with a rather bruised rear!

Inside the giraffe house we saw the baby giraffe, born one week earlier on Easter Saturday. She’s a girl! The keepers have named her Doris. She was hiding behind the partitions and then made a dash for the opposite side of the enclosure and squeezed underneath the far partition out of sight. Below is the only image I was able to get of her.

Hopefully, if the weather cooperates, she will take her first steps outside next week :-)

This time we were also successful in seeing the baby Swamp wallaby! Because of the bright sunlight the light was very contrasty so the wallabies were very difficult to photograph. Here you can see the head of the baby peeping out of the mother’s pouch, hope to get a better photo next time :-)

The young will stay in the mother’s pouch for 8-9 months but will continue to suckle until about 15 months. Look out for them when you visit – they’re opposite the Eagle Owl enclosure, near the wolves.

This is the first time that I also photographed the Vicugna, usually we walk right past them but the light was beautiful and so of course I had to stop to photograph them. They are the smallest of the camel family and are found in the mountains of South America. An interesting fact I read on the sign of the enclosure:

Wool fit for royalty
Incas have collected the vicugna’s fine wool for centuries, freeing the animals after shaving them. The wool was only to be used by royalty! When the Europeans arrived, they hunted the vicugna to the brink of extinction. The vicugna was protected in 1974, and their number has risen to 150,000.

Of course, we also saw the polar bears, Erik and Olinka :-)

Hoping (along with a lot of others) that Erik and Olinka will be successful in having polar bear cubs… shame that it did not happen for Erik and Tania.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and a nice Spring weekend :-)

** this post appeared first on Tigs Creations Photography **

8 Comments

  1. Vinita

    Lovely post Natalie! Gorgeous pics of the animals and very informative! Thank you. We will defenitely visit all of them next time we are there!

    Reply
  2. Breigh

    Wow these photos are amazing!! You must have a season pass to Blijdorp do you? I’ve not been yet this year, maybe I’ll go for my birthday!

    Reply
  3. Natalie

    Thanks girls! Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comments :-)

    @Breigh yes, we have a season pass and are there quite often! We also visit a lot of other zoos in the Netherlands for our zoocrew.eu project (www.zoocrew.eu)

    Reply
  4. Sandra A.

    Beautiful pictures as always Tigs! You are so good at this!

    Reply
  5. Sandra A.

    Beautiful pictures as always Tigs!

    Reply
  6. Mike

    Brilliant pictures as usual Natalie. Very jealous of the work you have done here as so unusual to the usual stuff the rest of us post . Love it!!

    Reply
  7. Tin

    Amazing! you make such beautiful photos of these animals. You know what my fave is :) (psst giraffe i want to be a giraf in another life :)

    Reply
  8. Anesha

    wonderful photos Natalie! Great to hear the enclosures have been improved. Have a great weekend.

    Reply

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