Friday, May 6, 2011

Going ape!

Madras had an early start in the practice of keeping wild animals in captivity. The first zoo in the city was near today's Chennai Central station - though when the zoo was established in the 1850s, the Central station was yet to be built. For a long while, the zoo did not keep pace with emerging thought in the manner of caring for captive animals and its pre-eminence slipped.

It was in 1985 that Madras reclaimed its spot as having one of, if not the best modern zoos in India. The Aringar Anna Zoological Park is spread over nearly 1500 acres and houses about 160 species (Wikipedia tells us that the San Diego Zoo / Safari Park together cover about 2100 acres - but they have packed in more than 800 species there!)

For all the extent of the zoo, the space for animals is slightly cramped. These chimpanzees have a little bit more than most, but even they can get bored of the sameness of the trees and the moat!

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