Hello everyone! Well I thought I’d take a little break from Barcelona and report a bit about some neat places to visit and some fun things to do right here in good old Malaga.
But if anyone out there happens to be eager to learn more about Barcelona or see more sights from that city, don’t worry. I’ll be getting back to Barcelona and its mysterious bush (you can check out a pic of Barcelona’s mysterious palm bush in the following post, if you haven’t already done so) again in the near future!
Today I felt like talking about wildlife safari parks. There’s an on-going heated debate about how ethical zoos are. Well, I personally don’t feel that safari parks belong in the same category as zoos, because most animals are roaming (relatively) free in a safari park, as opposed to zoos where they are in cages.
Also, I find that safari parks tend to be quite dedicated to the task of taking care of endangered species and bringing up orphaned babies that would otherwise have died.
You can see an example of some cute little animals that Selwo safari park, right here in our own Estepona near Malaga, has rescued here in these photos:
In case the text is not too clear here, the sign says that these are the Barbary Macaques – small, tailless monkeys from North Africa that are famous for living wild on the Rock of Gibraltar – that were rescued from private individuals who had smuggled them into Spain from North Africa, where they live wild, and were keeping them as pets. They are an endangered species and as such should be taken special care of.
This is one of the Barbary macaques living at Selwo safari park.
At Selwo you can take a jeep, similar to the ones used in real safaris in Africa, that will carry you on a tour of the entire park. It’s not only strongly recommended that you take the jeep rides, the park is so large that it would cost you a great deal of effort to cover it all on foot, and take several hours.
Another reason for riding on the jeeps is because there are areas which can only be entered by jeep. The animals that inhabit these zones are living there quite peacefully and happily, and the continuous presence of a bunch of confused tourists gaping and meandering about would be most upsetting!
We go to the safari park every year. We like to ride on the jeeps all around the park to the furthest corner, and then walk back to the entrance.
If you don’t feel up to the hike, which takes around perhaps 3 hours, depending on how long you like to stop to admire the animals, you can always ride the jeeps back to the entrance too.
But walking back is a lot more fun!
Part of the path on the return trip involves crossing over 3 fairly extensive hanging bridges, similar to the ones you can see in Indiana Jones movies.
They might look a bit creaky, and I know they do freak some people out. A guy who went with us on the jeep, a strong, young, hip, macho type, nonetheless refused to get onto the bridge and turned around and hitched a ride back to the entrance on another jeep.
But if you do that you will miss out on so much.
My oldest son likes to ride on the camel every year. The irascible guy that trains the camels is always kicking on the poor dromedaries to get them to rise while they are deeply absorbed in a much-deserved rest.
I tell him he should be nice to the camels and caress them, but he just snorts at me. I feel sad for these camels. Personally, I think that the park should get rid of the camel rides, or at least get a nicer fellow to take care of them.
But I guess that wouldn’t make any money for the park.
We come to Selwo every summer for our annual safari pilgrimage. This was the newborn baby elephant last year.
This is the baby elephant this year. As you can see he’s bigger now, older, and he isn’t babied, coddled or cooed over as much by his elders anymore.
Baby elephants are very precious, because mother elephants can only have one baby at a time, and she lives her private communing with her baby during her pregnancy for 22 months.
Selwo safari park holds Europe’s largest wild aviary housing hundreds of birds of every species you can imagine. Here are a few of its inhabitants:
Although it might seem like a simple, easy task to photograph these plumed friends, especially considering how large some of them are, really, it isn’t. It depends on their mood and your luck. Mostly they prefer to hide way out in the trees or bush.
This big guy was literally drooling over my son’s food.
And this one actually succeeded in snatching part of his meal right out of his poor little hand.
Not the first time birds steal his food, however. He reports to me that sometimes while he is eating breakfast at school in the yard, the local seagulls will swoop down lovingly to accompany him, bearing away his sandwich in the process.