Monday, October 06, 2008

Some Green Polar Bears and Long Necked Geese,Some Humpty Backed Camels and

A small article in The Japan Times newspaper September 24 page 3 caught my attention.
Apparently visitors to Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens here in Nagoya are "shocked by the colour" of the polar bears.The polar bears are no longer white after swimming in a pond this summer with an overgrowth of algae.The bears are expected to return to their natural colour when the algae growth subsides in November according to a zoo offical quoted in the article.
Curiosity aroused I went along to the Zoo yesterday morning.
I must state from the outset Im not a great fan of zoos and this one in particular I find depressing.I can block out the howls of some distressed feline creatures or the cringing,cowering birds that sit in the shadows of their cells.But its hard to ignore the general down at heel air that pervades the whole area.Closed,under repair toilet blocks,missing tiles,faded,chipped paint.
Once at the polar bear enclosure I notice that staff have put up a folder of photos and an explanation as to why the bears are green.Certainly the green tinge is less evident today than earlier in the year if the photos are anything to go by.And the animals themselves dont seem to be suffering because of the algae.

However I cant understand why this issue came about in the first place.How did the situation arise that the algae grew.Wasnt the pool being scrubbed or even drained on a regular basis?And why once the algae bloom started wasnt something done?What measures were taken to stop the algae growth?Is there a water filtering system in operation?Are procedures in place to ensure that the water quality doesnt cause other health problems?
You have to bear in mind that adult admission is only 500yen.Compare this to the 2000yen admission charge for the Port of Nagoya Aquarium.I would quite happily pay double the current zoo entry fee if it meant that the bare essentials could be provided and the place given a much needed facelift such as a lick of paint and larger extended cages.


Jennifer said...

This story was in our news a couple of weeks ago. I'm not surprised you didn't hear about it before now.

huey said...

Hi Jen ,the article was in the Japan Times 24th September but I only got to the zoo last weekend.Judging from the photos in the folder at their enclosure explaining their strange colour the bears were certainly greener and attracting more attention a couple of weeks ago.Hopefully with the colder weather of October they will resume their dirty off white colour soon.