My recent short trip to Japan was about as intense as it could have been for someone who loves their biology, two museums, two zoos, two aquaria, a wildlife preserve and a botanical gardens all in about 7 days. The Botanical Gardens of the University of Toyko are out in the city’s suburbs, but aside from a few views from the tops of a hill where the cityscape interrupts you could be forgiven for thinking you are in the heart of the countryside. While some areas are given over for study and experiments, the grounds as a whole are well laid out for visitors and in addition to obviously introduced things like the koi, there was an abundance of wild insects and even vertebrates that had made the place their home.
Here then is a taste of the grounds and their contents, both animal and vegetable.
Continue reading ‘Tokyo Botanical Gardens’
The Musings is clearly long overdue a zoo review and this summer brought me to two new places to explore – the Osaka Zoo and the Toyko Aquarium. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get round to covering the former as while it was, on the whole, perfectly satisfactory, it had little that was truly novel or exciting except a giant but underused free flight aviary and then a superbly designed Hagenbeck-type African savannah exhibit. The aquarium in Toyko however, had numerous exciting and interesting exhibits and I enjopyed my visit there immensely, so that’s what you’ll be getting today.
Continue reading ‘Tokyo Aquarium’
Tags: sauropods, Tokyo
Yes I *still* have more photos to come from the Tokyo Dino Expo 2011, and it’s nice to get back to the sauropods. More specifically this sauropod, the rarely seen Nigersaurus. One of the rare and unusual rebbachisaurs the characteristic lawn-mower type skull s really rather obvious here, and the neck is pretty short and reminiscent of the dicraeosaurs. For me this was really nice to see as I’d yet to encounter any material or a mount of any member of this group, so even just a general feel for the proportions and to see a few details was nice.
Tags: Japan, Tokyo, zoos
While I got back from my little trip to Japan almost 2 years ago now, I have still yet to write up my trip to the excellent Ueno zoo in Tokyo (though some phots have turned up here before). As with much of this series of zoo reports, it’s best to focus on the different or unusual and avoid the basics that any good zoo should have.
In this case this is rather easy, the zoo was large, well designed and with excellent enclosures. There were some obvious specialties (a really good collection of bears, several birds of paradise) and some unique animals like a Javan tiger and showbills which I had not seen before which is always a bonus for the dedicated zoo goer (I saw teporingos!!!). They were in the midst of a rebuilt of the elephant section which looked great and must be open now, and their reptile house while still being given the finishing touches, was brand new and truly first rate with a monstrous estuarine croc in residence. Some set-ups were especially nice, such as the raised perspex box that allowed otters to swim around at eye level effectively outside their enclosure.
The last real comment was the size of the place. Split across a road, I had though I’d covered most of it before discovering the second ‘half’ and suddenly it was much bigger. Despite quite a few hours there, I didn’t cover everything and as noted some parts were still under construction or development, so it’s very much a full-day kind of place. Well worth a visit, though I tend to say that about any good zoo. And certainly you have to admire their commitment to safety.