19 December 2005

Singapore Zoo! (Round two)

I've been to Singapore Zoo once before), and took some pretty nice pictures of the animals during that trip. Maybe I'll post those pics up one day.

This time, my goal was to re-shoot a few specific animals which fascinated me on my previous trip. And since I was able to spend far more time on each animal, I thought that my chances would be much better this time round.

If you haven't been to Singapore Zoo, I suggest you do. It's one of the nicest zoos I've ever been to with some fantastic enclosures that offer photographers a chance for some really good shots.

Anyway, these are my top 4 picks. As usual, click on the images to see a larger version:

White Tiger

The white tigers are beautiful creatures, looking both majestic and incredibly cuddly at the same time. I spotted three tigers in this enclosure - they just had their meals (big, juicy steaks) and this one decided to take a dip in a pond.

There are about 600 White tigers in the world, most of them in captivity (they are rarely sighted in the wild). The thing is, they aren't a separate species. Rather, they are just orange tigers with mutated genes. However, white tigers themselves are considered to be extinct in the wild.

Historically, white tigers have long been revered as divine beings in some Asian cultures - such as the Japanese, who see it as the God of the West, 'Byakko'.

If you're wondering the other Gods are aka 'Genbu' (the tortoise guradian of the North),'Seiryu' (the green dragon guardian of the East) and 'Suzaku' (the Phoenix guardian of the South). The Chinese also have the same mythology, but I'm not sure about the Chinese names. If you're wondering, I know this only because of the countless references to these Gods in Japanese animation (Anime).

Sri Lankan Elephant

A sub-species of Indian elephants (aka Asian elephants), they're smaller than their African counterparts: the African Elephant. The Asian elephants have smaller ears too, and are proven workhorses - they are able to pull huge logs weighing a couple of tons and have incredibly good balance (helps them negotiate narrow ledges and hills. Their trunks are incredibly dexterous and strong - able to lift heavy objects (such as humans) and delicately handle small, fragile objects (such as flowers).

Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragons are the largest living lizards, growing up to 10 feet and 140kg. They are carnivorous and have been known to take on large mammals.

Compared to some other animals, they haven't got very powerful jaws. What makes them such deadly creatures is their venom, which can kill anything from birds to elephants. And if that wasn't enough, they have several deadly strains of bacteria in their mouths so - if you survive the initial venom attack, which is unlikely - you'll be sick for days, if not completely dead by then.

So, if you ever come across a fairly large lizard in a jungle and if it looks like anything in this photo, run. Like hell.

Ring-tailed Lemur

Found only on the island of Madagascar, Ring-tailed Lemurs are technically an endangered species but with a large number of them in zoos around the world (along with the fact that they breed easily in captivity), they shouldn't be going extinct anytime soon.

They are said to be highly intelligent creatures and - from my personal observations - they seem very comfortable with human company. I had been pointing my lens at this particular lemur - close range - for a good 15 minutes without much of a fuss.

I'm particularly pleased with this shot although - if you're really picky - you'll see a bit of camera shake. Actually, this photo was a complete fluke; the lemur was resting high up on a tree so I had to hold my Nikon D70 high above my head and push it through some branches. And just as I tripped the shutter, it looked at the camera. Excellent.

So there you have it. Three and a half hours in Singapore Zoo and my favourite shot is the one that's out of focus with a leaf obstructing the animal.

1 comment:

Tan Kit Hoong said...

Very nice shot it is though