Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Zoophobia

We were afraid of the zoo. Even plush zoos can be depressing, and Indonesia is not a very wealthy country at the moment. But we were thrilled with the new primate facility at Jakarta's Ragunan Zoo.


First, it seems humane to the apes. The orangutans and gorillas, in particular, have a lot of room to roam around. The space is cleverly designed to give a good view and close proximity to the animals without locking them up in concrete boxes. The orangs helped out by being very friendly, coming right up to the fiberglass window to peer at us while munching on pineapples and oranges.

Secondly, when you go in, they confiscate your backpack, handbag, food, drink, etc., so unlike the rest of the zoo, there is no garbage being tossed around here. (Jakarta is badly in need of an anti-littering campaign.)


Thirdly, it's humane to humans. There's a forested area you can walk around in, and a system of platforms up in the trees connected by suspended wooden walkways among the branches. We spent a long time up there, just breathing in the smell of vegetation and listening to an unfamiliar sound: the wind blowing through the leaves.

4 comments:

ace said...

orangs... don't that mean human?

kopisusu2 said...

Indeed ... as you may know (?) ...
"Orang" + (h)utan = "man of the forest."

and some of the human "orangs" were quite friendly too, especially those selling water, fans, ice cream, etc.

Treespotter, you still haven't told me about your struggles with can openers.

ace said...

can openers... well, it is a distinct experience, will do a post on it later.

Anonymous said...

In the early 90's you could play with the baby orangutans and lions and such at Ragunan. I even knew a lady who kept a young tiger on loan from the zoo in her Hyatt hotel room for 6 months. Serious.