Cascade Park

Cascade Park

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An Afternoon at the Zoo

I wrote in an earlier post that I went to Chapultepec Park last week and visited the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art.  After spending barely an hour there, I went on to another one of the many attractions in the park... the Chapultepec Zoo.  I spent the entire afternoon at the zoo.

I had not been to the "zoológico" since the early 80s when Mexico City was the first place outside of China to have a successful birth of a giant panda in captivity.  I guess I wasn't very impressed with the zoo back then; the only thing I recall is trying to take a picture of the baby panda through the dirty window of the enclosure.  Since then the zoo has been thoroughly renovated.  It is now a clean, beautifully landscaped place.  Most of the animals have large enclosures in which to roam in a natural setting.  I spent several pleasant hours there.  Admission to the zoo is free, although you have to pay to go into the herpeterium and the insectarium.

Taking pictures of animals can be difficult. Here are a few from my visit...

I was especially impressed with the several aviaries at the zoo.  You can enter one of them and walk around with a variety of waterfowl, parrots and other birds.

My one disappointment was that I didn't get to see the pandas.  I asked a guard by the panda enclosure if they were not being displayed that day.  He said they were simply hiding amidst the foliage at the back of the enclosure.

This family tree of Mexico City's panda family shows that Pe Pe and Ying Ying, the original pair that was given to the zoo by China, were quite prolific.  Their first offspring to survive infancy was born in 1981.  She was named Tohui (a Tarahumara Indian word meaning "child") and was the star of Chapultepec Zoo. Tohui lived until 1993.  Ying Ying gave birth to three more pandas which lived to adulthood... one of them, Shuan Shuan, is still alive and residing at the zoo.  (This chart needs to be updated since Xiu Hua died in 2013.) Tohui was mated with a panda on loan from the London zoo, and gave birth to Xin Xin, the third generation of pandas in Mexico City.   

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