Category Archives: Animals

Our beloved Zoo Negara…

      …..      Look how well camouflaged this winged friend of ours is amongst the flora & fauna…..

I know a lot of people (especially those bringing children) visit the zoo and complain complain complain… & compare compare compare – no animals, boring, nothing compared to the Singapore Zoo etc etc etc.

But Zoo Negara has its charm, for me & Fat Dragon anyway.  I suppose the Zoo holds a place close to our hearts.  It is situated in Ulu Klang, near Taman Melawati which was our place of residence from 1992 – 2006. The Zoo was practically our neighbour & some of the free roaming white storks in the zoo actually perch themselves on street lamps in the roads & grazed in a playing field in the Taman Melawati primary school. I kid you not.  (Wonder if the birds are amongst the ones in the pic below…. NO… those are pink flamingos!)

The Zoo’s 120 acre tract of land is very close to the spectacular limestone hills of Taman Melawati & a valuable piece of green lung in the middle of the city. That is the reason why there was a controversy some time back about the relocation of the Zoo. I guess some quarters felt that the piece of land is wasted if it wasn’t developed for commercial use. There was a proposition to relocate the zoo to Putrajaya but its a good thing it didn’t come through. The Malaysian Zoological Society runs it and the zoo’s operations are funded purely through ticket sales, donations & private company funding.

Putting sentimental reasons aside, I agree. The Zoo is not perfect. The animal shows are a bit too contrived. Some of the staff seem to lack a genuine passion for animals – as evidenced in the Petting Zoo where the guy in charge was looking really bored & uninterested in educating the visitors. Some of the air conditioned train stops were let’s say… aired but not conditioned! It was blowing hot air only. The venue that housed the KFC restaurant is now abandoned. The maps showed a Mary Brown restaurant but I guess that too went bust. And the so called ‘Bee’ exhibit is a real STING..as in a con job. Don’t go in.. its just a place showcasing ‘dead’ bees & its just a gimmick set up to sell wild honey.

BUT…….  I’ve always enjoyed walking in the grounds. I’ve always enjoyed the natural surroundings and although the S’pore zoo (which is where Zoo Negara is always compared with) has a lot more animals, some of the glass enclosures don’t appeal to me. Zoo Negara is more natural. I thought the tiger enclosure was very authentic, green & natural with a ‘moat’ running around it. The Bear complex too housed quite a number of bears i.e. sun bears, honey bears etc. A pair of Brown Bears caught my eye though. They were gigantic. And NO, there are no polar bears in Zoo Negara. Big deal. The puma & black leopard enclosures although natural looked unkempt though. The Safari Walk,  a long strip of land housing the giraffes, the zebras, the ostriches was nice. It’s open concept allows the animals to mingle and move freely & that was an appealing sight indeed.

Well, for me, visiting the Zoo is a wonderful experience & I’d like to share some animal sightings & surroundings with you.. I say to you, go with an open mind. Don’t explore with too critical an eye and you just might change your views of the zoo a little bit towards the positive ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. The entrance fee has gone up to RM15 for adults. Parking is per entry at RM3.

P.P.S. Getting There

  • Using Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) – from Ampang, u-turn at the Taman Melawati exit and take the first left; from Gombak, take the first left after the Taman Melawati exit flyover.
  • Hop on the Metrobus bus 16 from Central Market. This bus will bring you to the zoo entrance.
  • Using Kelana Jaya Line LRT, get down at the Wangsa Maju LRT station and take a taxi or the feeder bus to the zoo.

P.P.P.S. here are 16 exhibits in this zoo. They are:

  • Reptile Park
  • Monkey/Lesser Apes
  • Malaysian Elephants
  • Lake Birds
  • Bird Aviary
  • Nocturnal Exhibits
  • Wallaby/Kangaroo/Pademelon
  • Children’s World
  • Bear Complex
  • Savannah Walk
  • Nile Hippopotamus
  • Mammal Kingdom
  • Freshwater Aquaria
  • Cat Walk
  • Ape Centre
  • Amphibian World

Click this link for a map showing the locations of the various exhibits within the grounds of Zoo Negara.  

p.p.p.p.s. Last but not least… you homo sapiens better not monkey around with the chimps at the primate exhibit area …. coz they’re smart enough to … well let’s just say the warning sign explains itself –

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It’s a dog’s life……….

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When I was a kid, I used to dream of having my own house & owning a countless number of dogs! Funny thing is, Fat Dragon & I have moved from an apartment to a  landed terrace property for 2 1/2 years now and we still do not own a dog ….

Well, the last dog I owned was an Alsation/ Mongrel mix of an ultra friendly disposition.  She was my best buddy. We went for walks uninhibited everyday, rain or shine in our Taman. Anyone who got to know her, fell in love with her – yup, even the non-dog lovers.  At the age of 12, she succumbed to illness (heart worms) & had to be put to sleep. I was right there in the Vet’s office when he administered the lethal injections (Yes, you got it right, it was more than one jab) and the last moments were not a pretty sight. So, yeah… you can call it a traumatic moment, you can call it one of the saddest moments of my life. … whatever, life has moved on.

Owning a dog today, is a different ballgame altogether especially if you’re a fan of large dogs like me. 

The thing is, large dogs need a lot of exercise. They need to have space in the garden to move around and they need to be walked regularly. If not, they will grow overweight, suffer extreme boredom or even get health problems. But we all know, in urban KL neighbourhoods (especially terraced homes), pet dogs are fast losing this privilege. Time and again, I hear reports from friends about quarrels with their neighbours. Some of these accounts are pretty hilarious! A Japanese friend was walking her doberman in Bandar Utama, one day.  As they both strolled by a neighbouring house down the road,  the owner dashed out from the house to give her a telling off …. “Hey, don’t walk your dog in front of my house ….!!!!!”. (FYI: they were only strolling by, the dog was NOT taking a poop). Well, she played dumb and said “Huh, sorry no understand English, I Japanese!” …. &  that rendered the neighbour speechless.  He was probably pondering on ways to scold her in sign language … who knows? Well, the nature of other complaints vary, some neighbours complain about the smell of dogs “contaminating” their air space, some complain about the dog’s bath water running down past their  driveway.  Things like that.

In our Resident’s Association website, the level of complaints has reached an even more sophisticated level.  They write about how unhygienic dog poo is, about the noisy barking, etc!  These emails are supported by scientific research attachments, mind you – about the kind of e-coli, bacteria contained in faeces, etc.  Kudos man, these people really do their homework….. wonder how they cope when they do their own toilet jobs… they must go in full contamination suits.

I agree, as we get more urbanised, we are all densely packed into tight residential pockets . When we live as part of a community, we have to be responsible and take ownership when having a pet. We must make sure that compounds are cleaned everyday, we must ensure that our dogs get the necessary shots to prevent disease & most importantly, we really should clean up after our dogs when walking them.  We wouldn’t want our friendly neighbours to pick up some sticky, foul smelling souvenirs in their shoes when jogging in the dim hours of dawn or late evenings, would we? These are obligations that dog owners should adhere to nowadays. It’s only fair in the light of community living.

Now, the smell of dog  contaminating  someone’s air space, ummm, that’s debatable though!  If you complain about smelly dog poo, I sympathise with you completely…… but the smell of DOG?? Well, for your information, if you’re not a dog owner, you can’t bathe a dog every day.  This will wash away all the natural oils from its fur and the dog’s hair will lose its shine. Hmmm, I guess this argument is similar to complaining about a human being having BODY ODOUR, HUMAN MUSK, etc.  But isn’t it the case, some people actually find the human musk sexy? So I say here, one man’s smell is another man’s perfume – Ahahaahahahahhhhh! 

As for noisy barking – food for thought as society develops, perceptions change.  In the good ol’ days,  a dog’s barking was sort of a burglar alarm. When my dog died back then …. our neighbours asked if we were planning to get a new dog. They said that it was good to have a watchdog … it would be safer for our homes. In other words, they were willing to sacrifice having to listen to the dog barking when it saw a stray cat, or a strange car, etc for the benefit of shared security. Now that we are living in the age of technology – people can afford hi-tech alarm systems. Who needs a dog anymore? So, your dog has been reclassified (by a non dog lover, of course) to being a public nuisance ….. See how perception of things changes as time rolls by. 

At the end of the day, the dog owners have their point view, the non dog owners also have their point view. The long and short of it is, tolerance levels have come down amongst urban folk!  Well, like I said, it’s a dog’s life out there ………  dog-in-a-top-hat-and-tie-fa08008.jpg

 

 

 

P.S.  On the back of all these neighbourly concerns, the act of getting a license for the dog is a trial in certain areas (like Shah Alam). You have to get permission from your immediate neighbours if you live in terraced home before the city council issues you a dog license. As a result, a lot of dog owners don’t bother to get it done given the ‘inconvenience’. This means they run the risk of losing their dogs, if they’re not lucky. 

The latest story I heard was about how a friend (in Bukit Jelutong) had to give away his female dog and her litter straight after she gave birth because a neighbour complained.  The authorities were not willing to compromise i.e. wait for the pups to get bigger & be weaned of the mother’s milk. That’s why he had to give away the female together with the litter. He is now left with the male only.

A dog without a license also runs the risk of  getting killed by dog shooters if he was outside the house. That too, is not a particularly pleasant prospect for your beloved pooch.