The Chilean National Zoo in Santiago is located at the foot of San Cristóbal Hill in what is known as the Santiago Metropolitan Park. It was just around the corner from my hostel and a great way to spend a lazy Sunday morning. The zoo is quite small but is home to thousands of animals covering up to 158 native and exotic species.
I caught the funicular half way up San Christobel Hill to the entrance of the zoo. The first furry animals I came across were the lemurs right next to the entrance. The zoo also boasts a jaguar and a beautiful white tiger! It was quite difficult to get a photo of either of them as their enclosure is surrounded by a mesh-wire fence.
They do a good job of having many animals that are local to Chile, particularly the Patagonia regions that you won’t find at other zoos.
The rheas are flightless birds native to South America. With their grey-brown plumage, long legs and long necks, similar to an ostrich.
The Patagonian mara is a relatively large rodent, somewhat rabbit-like animal is found in open and semi-open habitats in Patagonia. The social organizations have a unique combination of monogamy and communal breeding. Being monogamous, pairs of maras stay together for life with replacement of partners only occurring after its death.
The zoo also holds a large number of foreign species such as lions, giraffes, kangaroos, elephants,emus and a poor polar bear that looked like it was suffering in the heat of the day.
The lar gibbon, also known as the white-handed gibbon, their hands and feet are white-colored, likewise a ring of white hair surrounds the black face. Gibbons are true brachiators, propelling themselves through the forest by swinging under the branches using their arms.
I really enjoyed walking through the large internal Aviary where I had the chance to get quite close to some very brightly coloured birds!
The hamadryas baboon is a species of baboon from the Old World monkey family. The hamadryas baboon was a sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians and appears in various roles in ancient Egyptian religion.
The highlight of my zoo visit was definitely getting to see a Condor, the largest flying bird, native to the Andes Mountains. They are magnificent birds but quite ugly when you get to see them close up. I would have loved to see them spread their wide wings and fly, guess for that I will have to look for them in the wild.
A Condor is a large black vulture with a ruff of white feathers surrounding the base of the neck and, especially in the male, large white patches on the wings. The head and neck are nearly featherless, and are a dull red color, which may flush and therefore change color in response to the bird’s emotional state.
Situated on San Christobel hill the zoo has great views of the city of Santiago!