It has been ages since I went to a zoo, but Taipei Zoo was among the tourist attractions in the city. I was especially interested to see animals native to Taiwan.
My journey there was met with light rain but it quickly subsided while I was scrounging about for a map. I was thrilled to see how many exhibits and areas were included in the zoo. There was a section for Asian tropical rainforests, deserts, Australian outback, and a temperate zone.
One thing I have noticed about Taiwan is how plentiful the foliage and trees are there. Wherever you walk through the city, there are parks, gardens, and trees beautifying every corner of society. Taipei Zoo was no exception, which made it all the more serene as I walked the trails with gleaming eyes.
Having arrived only a few hours prior to closing time, you would think I have enough time to explore most of the zoo. I made the dire mistake of lingering too long in the rainforest area. So I still have half of the zoo left to explore upon my return. I have yet to see the reptile house, lions, giraffes, rhinoceri, and of course, the penguin house.
Shortly after I set out, I spied orangutans, mongooses, leopards, and a very lazy Bengal tiger. I was amazed to a see a hippopotamus up close for the first time in my life. I've been particularly fascinated by these creatures because they are notorious for their tempers. That being said, the hippo was looking up at me with gaping jaws and a guttural noise rumbling from its throat.
I did happen across the Formosan black bears, which are only found in Taiwan. To be honest, I thought they bore a striking resemblance to werewolves because of how lanky they were.
The insectarium was slightly bland for me. I probably only spent a few minutes inside before I trotted off to see the pandas.
Sadly, I didn't get any decent images of the pandas at the zoo. To be expected, the area was a bit too crowded and the panda wasn't content to stay still for pictures. I didn't stay very long before I set off on the trail again to the Asian rainforest. It was pretty neat seeing the Asian elephants up close. I would have liked to get closer but safety precautions and all, I doubt I would get the chance. The next time I'll take the gondola up to the mountain near Taipei Zoo.
The gondola was suspended that day due to strong winds. In spite of the weather and my short stay there, the zoo is a thriving oasis of sights. Even were I not to see any animals, it was a lovely journey just to walk around.
Reflecting back on my experience, it reminds me that I have much left to see and explore in Taiwan. I've only seen a small fraction of it during the two weeks I spent there. It feels like a lifetime ago but the memories still linger. I long for that sense of spiritual and emotional freedom that I felt there.