Visited the ZOOM Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen
with a couple of friends today, which is the fancy new name of the former Ruhr-Zoo
from 1949. It's not just the name that became fancy though, as the entire area has been completely redeveloped, with most animals being kept in open enclosures, separated from visitors by moats and hidden fences. Here's a map
of the entire layout, should you be interested.
The weather was rubbish, with thick clouds and occasional rain, but the zoo itself was quite fantastic! I really liked the bears, which had rather expansive enclosures that could be viewed from almost all sides, with the fake mountains around the perimeter making for natural-looking backgrounds. The timber wolves were quite active as well, but their enclosure was rather shady, with most of the pics turning out blurred because of that. The zebras also had a nice artificial savannah that they shared with other animals, but it was built on a hilltop... Let's just say the high voltage pylons and industrial buildings in the background were kind of obvious.
My main targets were of course the spotted hyenas. Due to their bad reputation, very few zoos bother keeping them, and even in this one, their enclosure was rather tiny. Basically a small island, wedged between the lion and the zebra enclosure, with only one short viewing area. When we first came by here, only one of them was in sight, fast asleep, with its back turned towards the audience. So after we've been through the entire zoo, the others went home, and I went back to the hyenas. Must've looked funny to all the people that came and went, one lone guy, huge lens around the neck, staring at the seemingly empty enclosure. But my patience paid off, as one of the two spotties wandered about every once in a while, giving me the chance to get some (halfway) decent shots.
So yeah, hyenas are my fave animals. They be awesome!
Also, my neck is absolutely killing me right now. I guess walking around all day with a huge tele hanging from one's neck isn't the best idea I've come up with today. But at least I got the usual "OMG look at that guy's lens!" comments as well.