OPINION: Animal magnetism makes a special day

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
A Sumatran tiger at Perth Zoo.
Camera IconA Sumatran tiger at Perth Zoo. Credit: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

My recent escape to the city was a real sea change.

Yes, like many, the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions allowed me to get away for a few days and clear the head, somewhat — rejuvenate the body too.

So, I lapped it up a little with nice accommodation, wining, and dining and leisurely wondering the streets of Fremantle and Perth riverside close to the CBD.

Now, one morning after a late breakfast, my companion and I decided to do something I have never done, even when visiting Perth as a kid with the family.

We decided to go to the zoo. From the CBD, all it takes is a quick 15-minute ferry ride across to Mends Street jetty in South Perth, a stroll up the hill, across the road and you are there.

I don’t really know why I hadn’t been to the zoo in the past but the day presented a perfect opportunity and the ferry crossing was a relaxing treat.

Perth Zoo has been around since 1898. Now that’s less than 70 years after the Swan River Colony was established.

Today this incredible place spans 16.5ha —right, smack bang, in the middle of inner-suburbia.

Research tells me there are 1258 animals comprising 164 species, but all I wanted to see was a tiger.

I’ve always been fascinated by tigers — big, beautiful cats of brilliant colour, made famous in classic tales like The Jungle Book.

Perth Zoo is home to the Sumatran species of tiger.

Today, according to the zoo, there are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

At the moment, they, along with other major zoos in Australia, are involved in a much-needed breeding program.

Presently, we arrived at the enclosure, half expecting the local felines to be away in the back blocks having a sleep.

Apparently, luck plays a big part when you venture to the zoo and want to see something special.

Well, the big cats were out and about.

And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

One of the big fellas strolled up and down the front of his enclosure.

He looked pretty proud of himself, and I suppose he would be, being an integral part of the breeding program.

We went on to to see, giraffes, a big rhino, baboons and a lion, who sat across the top of a grassy mound looking over his kingdom.

And all too soon, it was time to leave.

A great day out, that was made all the better by the shrills of children getting the chance, like me, to see something special.

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