Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ähtäri Zoo, part 1

Well, we're home again. Our vacation ended up a few days longer than we had planned, but that's alright. It was the most relaxing vacation I've had in years, despite rather crappy weather.

(If you're here for Tuesday Finds, sorry, but I haven't had much chance to settle in yet after the trip. They'll be back next week!)

Us entering Ähtäri Zoo, which is spread out in 60 hectares of forest. We're further away from the camera, I have no idea who the guy in the foreground is.

Halfway through the holiday we went on a one-day trip to the Ähtäri Zoo with my parents and my brother. I'd been there a couple of times before as a kid, but it was a first for Mr Morrgan and my brother. They seemed to enjoy it, especially my brother who since this trip has suddenly started to notice animals. Nowadays he mentions animals he's seen on the way to and at work, like squirrels and swans. Awesome. :D

Swans, pretty as can be. These were occupying the beavers' pond while the beavers were asleep.

He also took lots and lots of photos and I want to show off a few of them, because it turns out he has hidden talents as a nature photographer!

A couple of lazy-looking wild boars. It's a shame we didn't see any piglets, they're just too adorable. But these guys aren't too bad either. ;)

The park was established in 1973 and now houses over 60 animal species and many many plant species, most of them native to Finland. It's open to the public every day of the year.

Aren't they sweet? A couple of fallow deer having a snack.

Before going on this trip I read a book called 'Eläintarinoita Ähtäristä' by Jukka Lahtinen, who was the zoo's manager for decades. In the book he describes how the park got started and evolved to what it is now, a bit about how things work behind the scenes and of course tells many stories about the zoo's inhabitants over the years. It was interesting to go into the park with all that in mind and at the same time see how things look from a visitor's point of view.

The zoo's first animal was Köpi the moose. I wonder if this little one is a descendant?

It was a fun day for all and we spent about three hours wandering around. Well, I think it's time to let the photos speak for themselves, so enjoy! There's so many I want to show that I'll divide them for two blog posts, so come back towards the end of the week for photos of wolves, some of the domestic animals they also have at the zoo and more bears and birds. Thanks for the photos, bro!

The bears were really cool. There's just something about them I can relate to.

There were two bears together, this is the smaller one. The lady teddy, I presume?

The snow leopards were one of the non-native animal species. There's not many left of them in the wild, sadly.

The wisent, or European bison. Quite an impressive sight, even when lying down peacefully like this. These almost went extinct in the early 1900s, with only a few dozen individuals left in zoos, but are making a comeback now and have been reintroduced to parts of their original habitat.


Prairie Daisy Handspun said...

It's been ages since I've been to the zoo. Thanks for sharing such great pictures! :)

Kreativlink said...

Usually I don't enjoy visiting a zoo because I always feel sad for the animals. But seeing this pics, I think I could like it there!

Morrgan said...

Yeah, I'm the same, K. I think it's the fact that this zoo is in the middle of the woods, the animals are still part of the surrounding nature in a way. I felt sad for some of the birds because they can't fly around as far as they could (then again others were free to come and go as they please, like the swans), but otherwise it was a nice experience for all of us. :)

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