Free roaming animals in nature, or maybe "caged" in Zoos? Well, there is another option - Tenerife's Loro Parque!
I remember how excited I was when for the first time my parents took me to a Zoo park. Suddenly, all these animals so well-known from cartoons in fairy tale books became real, authentic and alive….
Later, in an early teenager-hood, visits to Zoo turned into an inexpensive way to live adventures of explorers known from library books. In the pursuit of my curiosity I traveled in my imagination all over the world following my heroes from books. However, as time went by, the charm of the Zoo faded away. As I became more mature, instead of seeing magnificent wild animals I started to see in the eyes of caged creatures an enormous amount of suffering and sadness. Sadness of “Braves” with let’s call it - “undercut-wings”, still alive but forced to the role of puppets in the show…..
Fortunately, at the same time travel and exploration became a new reality as the world has shrunk and become accessible and affordable for real adventures.
White tiger (Loro Park, Tenerife)
I remember my first impressions from a visit to a Wild Zoo in St-Félicien (Canada, Quebec) when this time we, human beings, were closed in cages moving across the habitat of freely roaming wild animals. What a contrast - it seemed to me that those black bears, wolves and other wild creatures were watching us with joy and amazement in their eyes, as opposed to the sadness and despair expressed by their caged counterparts in traditional zoo parks.
Given all these heartbreaking feelings, quite reluctantly I decided to visit the much publicized Loro Parque located in Puerto de Santa Cruz in Tenerife, Canary Islands. After crossing the entrance gate, it took me only a few minutes to realize that this is not just another zoo park as some of others I visited in my life.
First of all, Loro Park focuses only on a few groups of animals. I think the selected animals, "big" mammals, such as Tigers, Jaguars, Gorillas and Chimpanzees, make Loro Parque a special place. Maybe it’s because these chosen few are treated with all the nobility and dignity belonging to the free world.
Gorilla also deserves an afternoon nap
To see these magnificent creatures either click on the left picture or the following link:--> Great Apes
Let’s start with the large mammals as normally these rulers of the animal kingdom are the biggest magnet force of any zoo. If I would like to compare their living conditions to us human beings, I will have to say that these "big guys" are living in luxury penthouses rather than apartments, penthouses designed for them and not for us visitors.
I’m sure that looking at these pictures you could think that indeed they were taken somewhere in the natural wilderness of Africa. Jungle like trees, waterfalls feeding deep ponds of water, formations of rocks, … everything to the smallest details is conceived for these guests of honor. And all that in the greenery of spring-time Serengeti-like steps perfectly replicating habitats of their ancestors.
And I’m consciously writing "ancestors" because today their relatives due to human activity are facing the radical changes of the natural environment. What’s left from their once flourishing habitat is more and more a bare resemblance to that of zoo parks. It took me some time to realize the absence of gadgets commonly used in almost every zoo, like for example tires in a gorilla's playground (as if tires are growing in the jungle – well maybe these days…).
Bengal tiger in his kingdom (Loro Park, Tenerife)
To see Bengal tigers in Loro Park (Tenerife) and in Buenos Aires Zoo (Argentina) go to:
--> Bengal Tigers
--> White Tigers
Personally, for me the most imposing was the power and elegance of the white tiger. As we know, it is a very rare species these days. Laying down on the grass in an apparently relaxed position he was still radiating his conscious self-righteousness, his deserved but dignified pride of The Master in charge.
Also striking, with their massive torsos were gorillas.
It may be because for the first time I saw them from so close in their natural forested environment, so close that I almost felt their breath...
Planet Penguin is the next story deeply written in my memory. Like in the best documentary movie in front of you, opens the Antarctic world of snow, sea and icebergs with more than 200 penguins playing and interacting gently in their natural home environment. And they look so "human" in their postures, the way of moving, touching each other.
You almost feel it, the love and care these birds express to each other. These are like the best moments from the famous "March of Penguins". It made me smile seeing a few Antarctic Kings gathering “under the artificial cloud” from where little snowflakes were falling in a joyful dance… “Royals”, just like children, also love to play….
Am I not cute ?
To see these beauties go to: --> Parrots
Loro Parque has one of the biggest collection of parrots in the world. Usually, these colorful birds stay for their whole lives in big cages. Here they are living in an immense aviary encompassing fragments of Amazonian-like jungle. Tree-top observation platforms, canopy sidewalks offer the opportunity to blend with their natural habitat. What a joy to see them flying, jumping, talking to each other, “kissing”….
Note: another amazing aviary you will find on the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls: See: --> Iguazu Falls Aviary
Iguassu Falls aviary
For sure, Loro Park is much more than what attracted my attention. Specifically for kids, you will find that shows with orcas, dolphins and parrots go on all day around.
The big aquarium with all kinds of sea-creatures from killer sharks to the “rainbow” of coral reef may take your breath away. But I am sharing just my favorites. From that visit I have not only beautiful memories, but also the quite impressive collection of pictures I’m sharing with you on this site.
What a fantastic sea world!
If you want to make a tour of the Tenerife's El-Teide National Park, get friendly with animals in the Loro Parque, experience the bird's view of the island when paragliding, visit the secluded village Masca, taste local potatoes or witness the unique whistling language in La Gomera then click any of the following links:
El-Teide Volcano Park -- and follow on several pages
Mysterious nature of Tenerife
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