Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Science Gallery: Dublin Zoo

Regular readers will know that we here at Communicate Science very much believe in the old saying that 'a picture paints a thousand words'. 

With that in mind, we sent our part-time roving reporter Daniel Lettice to Dublin Zoo recently to work his photographic magic and bring us some wonderful examples of the type of animals that the Zoo is home to.

Dublin Zoo was opened in 1831 and received all of its animals from the recently opened London Zoo.

The Zoo has had an interesting history since then: receiving its first giraffe in 1844; its first lions in 1855;surviving the 1916 rising by feeding some of the less fortunate animals to the lions; right up to the present day when it is one of the most visited attractions in the state.

Our first photo is of one of the Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) - the smallest of all still existing tiger subspecies. The tigers are critically endangered in the wild. Around 400-500 were thought to exist in 1998 and their numbers continue to decline.

Next, it's the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiaca): an easily recognisable yellow-eyed bird. This guy is a male - the males are virtually pure white, while the females have dark markings.

This hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) looks right at home in the water. Dublin's hippos are named Henri, Hoovie and Heidi. native to central and southern Africa, they are classified as 'vulnerable' in the wild.

Finally, an Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), from the herd at Dublin Zoo. they have smaller ears than their African counterpart and those ears (kind of) look like India! it's estimated that there are only around 35-50,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild.

Dublin Zoo is open all year round; except for Christmas Day and St. Stephens Day. It's really worth a visit.


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