Wednesday 7 September 2022

Ready for a close-up?

After snowing yesterday morning, it was -4.7 degrees overnight last night here in Christchurch, so I really can’t blame all the animals at Orana Wildlife Park for mostly just lying around in the sun today. The otters were busy, and the lemurs, and the African wild dog was restless, but virtually all the others - especially all the big cats (no surprise) - were just blissed out in the sunshine. 
So it’s just as well Orana has a full programme of animal presentations right throughout the day, all the ones I saw involving, of course, food. The park is big, and the animal numbers are mostly modest, but the programme means that visitors can get up really close to the creatures - and I mean really close. Like, a metre from three massive white rhinos, six inches (through glass) from a silverback gorilla, an arm’s length from a hungry lion - and actually feed a giraffe.
I did all that, and much more, and was utterly delighted. SO CLOSE! It was a marvel, and a treat. I spent six hours trailing around the park, listening to the enthusiastic keepers, looking at everything from an axolotl to a bison, sharing tips with other visitors, and as happy to watch a large family of mallard ducklings crossing the road as I was to see a trio of Tasmanian Devils sprawled out in the sun, for once all with their mouths closed. Good day. Thanks, Orana. (And sorry, host Khloe, for continually harping on about having seen so many of these animals in the wild. I know I’m lucky. But Orana is next best, honest.)

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