Thursday, August 9, 2012

A trip to the zoo

A trip to the Zoo and a project to do!

The kids and I joined some friends this week for a day at the San Francisco Zoo.  I prepped them with our plan for the day - a photo safari of animals from India!  Well, that was harder than it sounded. 

I knew we wouldn't find elephants because the zoo used to have 2 but one died (old age I think) and they sold the other so it wouldn't be lonely.  Not sure if they were Asian elephants anyway - do you know the difference?  Asian elephants are smaller, their ears are smaller, and they have 2 bumps on their forehead.  They have been domesticated in India and Asia for many years and used as transport and in the timber industry.  They have the largest cerebral cortex (cognitive thought part) of any land animal are are as smart as the great apes. Oh, and they can live over 80 years!

We did see peacocks!  The SF zoo has peacocks running around freely and they are beautiful!  The male peacock is the one with the beautiful tail feathers that he lifts up and displays when he wants to impress a female (or show off), the female is brownish and has much shorter tail feathers.  She is actually called a peahen, and they are both member of the peafowl family.  The peacock is the national bird of India and has special religious significance in the Hindu religion.  None of the peacock (or peahens) were really posing for pictures so here's one from the internet...

Another animal I thought we would see for sure was the Bengal tiger.  NOPE.  Seems the SF zoo has Siberian tigers, Sumatran tigers, but no Bengal tigers! Anyway, the kids learned the different types of tigers right?  The Bengal tiger is the nation animal of India and is the largest of the big cat family.  They are one of only 2 big cats that can swim and they spend alot of time cooling off in the many rivers and lakes in India.  There are less then 2500 of them living in the wild and have been on the endangered species list since 2010.  India is doing a lot of work to save them and designating vast areas as sanctuaries in hopes that these beautiful animals and, in fact, all the animals of India can flourish and live.  

Project 3: Bengal Tigers
Since we didn't get to see any Bengal tigers on our trip to the zoo we decided we would make our own - maybe we will drop them off at the zoo next time we go :) For the project you will need:

  • 1 toilet paper roll for each tiger
  • some flat thin cardboard or heavy paper
  • orange and black paint and brushes
  • stapler and/or tape
1. Cut a head, two legs. a neck, and a tail from the cardboard.  Legs are folded so flat side can be attached to tube (hard to see)

2. Attach them using tape or stapler (or both) to the cardboard tube.  This was a little hard for young kids to do.

3. Paint tiger orange (white belly / feet to be really true) and let dry

4.  When dry, paint on some stripes and a face with a thin brush (or glue on googly eyes)

Cute little Bengal Tigers!!