Being controversial here, not everyone will agree with our views, but here goes....
Last week we went up to Chester and spent a day at the Zoo. Now as I've probably posted before we are not huge Zoo fans, but after watching Secret Life of the Zoo on C4 and the good way that the Zoo is portrayed we thought we would give it one more go!
Our big mistake was that when we arranged a Hotel for the previous night, thanks to a great Groupon offer, but we forgot, when we booked it, that it would be in the Easter holidays so lots of children, not that that's a bad thing for the Zoo, just for us, when you are trying to look at the animals.
Having said that there were some incredibly well behaved and interested children there.
Anyway on the whole it wasn't bad, although some of the enclosures looked a lot smaller than on the television, especially the Chimps enclosure. After being lucky enough to see so many animals in the wild, it just didn't feel right, especially when we saw the Sumatran Tiger pacing up and down along the fence. Now we know how endangered the Sumatran Tiger is and that the Zoo breeding programmes are vital to its survival, but it still makes you so sad to see them like that.
Indeed that goes for a lot of the Animals. Another case in point are the walk through aviaries, which are fabulous and make you feel as if you are almost in the wild, but in fact the flying area is actually very small, but again many of the birds are red-listed, so it's a huge dilemma. I don't have an answer.
Towards the end of our visit we came across some small aviaries, all next to each other, containing a variety of Owls. Now an Owl of always wanted to see in the wild and would go to Finland or Norway to see is the Great Grey Owl and to see this fantastic bird for the first time in a tiny (relatively) aviary was just awful.
I think this will be our last visit to a Zoo, as we find it too upsetting, although I see no alternative for some of the animals if they are to survive and the conservation side of the Zoo needs the income from people through the gate to keep the breeding programmes going.
I'm not going to add any photos to this post, but I have put them on Flickr, here's the link if you want to have a look;
Chester Zoo Photos