A few weeks ago, some members of my lab planned a trip to the Schönbrunn Tiergarten (Schönbrunn Zoo) in Vienna, the oldest zoo in the world, and I went with them. In this post I’ll just share some of the better photos from the day. I should also note that I have not forgotten that zoos are seldom ideal. I take some solace in that, according to Wikipedia:
Today, Tiergarten Schönbrunn is considered and regards itself as a scientifically administered zoo which sees its main purpose as a centre for species conservation and general nature conservation as well as in the fulfillment of the education mandate given to it by the legislation.
Regarding that, I did, from time to time, keep an eye out for environmental enrichments. Obviously a brief visit is not going to give a great overview but I did see enrichment in some enclosures, so I assume that such considerations are taken into account.
One of our first stop was near a children’s play area (two members of our party had young children) where there were a few rabbits. This one in particular caught my eye because his fur colouring and tufts of fur made him look like an adorable goth bunny. Incidentally, the play area looked like a lot of fun and it was not the only one. The zoo has some really good places for children to play when they are done watching animals. I think for them the play areas were a bigger draw than the animals.
One of the African animals I was happy to see was the cheetah. I think they are far more beautiful than lions who, despite the reverence they seem to command, are ugly and lazy. I was able to take this video of two cheetahs making out right near a glass barrier while the third wheel awkwardly watches.
Another really cute animal is the Red Panda. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that didn’t look cuddly.
One of the last things I made sure to do before leaving was visit the wolves. This necessitated a bit of a walk as the wolf enclosure is uphill and quite isolated. I’m not sure how many wolves they have but we only saw two. On the positive side, one of them walked right past the fence so I was able to get a decent picture as well as a short video clip.
I also have a picture of the Schönbrunn Palace
which served as the imperial summer residence. Unfortunately, despite some nice constructions at the back, the palace itself has a very dull exterior. A far better looking palace is the (much closer to where I live) which was the winter residence. It still houses the office of the Austrian president. I visited the adjacent Heldenplatz for a picnic with some friends about two weeks after the trip to the zoo. Historically, it’s famous as the location where Hitler announced the unification of Austria and Germany and this month it also hosted a concert to commemorate the surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of WWII in Europe. I took my photo of Hofburg Palace from this square.