Friday, April 3, 2009

Moorpark College Zoo

This past Sunday, my brother and his family of five flew in from Chicago for their annual visit. We met them at the Moorpark College Zoo for a special animal show. The teaching zoo is one of only two in the United States specifically geared toward "exotic animal" training. Many of the animals here have been featured in the movies and entertainment industry, including one of the lions from "Two Brothers".

Here is a picture of the girls with one of their cousins. We saw several shows highlighting these beautiful creatures. It was clear that the handlers/trainers were animal lovers. Here are a few highlight shots of some of the exotic animals we saw.

There were beautiful mountain lions, African lions, rare species of birds, monkeys and apes, large cats, reptiles, etc. I learned more from attending this family event than all my formal zoo visits combined.

It was fascinating to watch a handler work with the handsome hyena pictured above. He is 17 years old and was donated to the zoo, though he was not hand raised. Therefore, all of his training takes place within his cage with the wire separation between him and his trainer. I didn't realize that hyena's have the strongest jaws of any animal, even stronger than that of a lion. It sort of makes sense when you look at their flat faces, kind of like a pit bull in width.

The hyena we saw was incredibly intelligent. They sleep about 20 hours in the wild and this one has two training sessions a day, so the trainer reassured a visitor that he wasn't "bored". It actually was very evident how much he enjoyed the training session (not that he'd rather do that than be in the wild, though). The handler was very careful with her fingers. Even in a playful moment, it could be very dangerous for her. We watched this one play with a log, do elaborate tricks and even *laugh* as they are so famous for.

And at the end of the day, before heading over to Grandfather's house for a swim in the hot tub, the kids and their dad/uncle skipped to the car. Reminded me so much of "The Wizard of Oz" and it was so fun to see how much the children adore each other...

Here is a link to the Moorpark Zoo, for the locals.

1 comment:

  1. I like to visiting any zoo’s and I think zoo is the best place because all types of animals are available in here. Children are very happy visiting and me also, actually me with my family we all have been maximum holidays going to zoo and arranged some kitty parties on there. Thank you very much for sharing this and I am so happy to visiting this.