A trip to the zoo

As some of you might already know (since I’ve been talking about it constantly for the last 3 months), in 2 weeks I’ll be off to Uganda with TReND, a higher education charity running university level neuroscience courses. I’m doing a week of teaching, followed by some quality time with lions, elephants and gorillas, which I’m incredibly excited about.

Mountain gorillas are critically endangered (here’s some WWF info), and one of the things helping keep them alive is the money that comes from tourist trekking licences. Believe it or not, there are only around  800 of them left. That’s another thing I’ve been trying to process recently – how many species have gone extinct recently, and how many are so close to extinction. A world without mountain gorillas and Sumatran tigers (only 300 left) would be a sad place indeed. Though at least in the case of mountain gorillas, things are slightly, hesitantly, looking up – due to major conservation efforts, their numbers have recently been increasing for the first time in years.

I feel very privileged to hopefully be saying hello to them. And as well as going walking lots, and climbing some hills recently in preparation, I thought it would be good to have an animal photography warm-up before I went. So it was in the name of this that me and some lovely friends went to London Zoo.

This is the first time I’ve been in years, and I really enjoyed the visit. It’s extremely focused on conservation – a percentage of the ticket money gets donated to a conservation charity, you encounter conservation games and information sheets everywhere you go, and we came across staff engaging visitors in a responsible consumerism campaign focused on sustainable palm oil. All around very informative, and very much matching my current headspace.

I was also pleasantly surprised about how close you could get to some of the animals. The rainforest and some of the monkey sections in particular are very open, with the animals running and jumping around where they please, and staff on hand to keep visitors from interacting with the animals directly. It was really a wonderful experience.

But without further ado, here are some animal pictures :)

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