Local Heart, Global Soul

June 11, 2015

Strange Birds And Lion Monkey’s With Flaming Manes…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post , after seeing the show that the peacocks have put on, we go to a part of the park where there are more birds.

Amongst them is the Abyssinian ground horn-bill, a very strange looking bird with bulging eyes, and pat of the ground horn-bill family of birds.

One of the keepers was busy feeding them when I arrived, she showed us the container she was feeding them from, a dead duckling was on it’s back inside, a bit of a shock for the children that nature is necessarily cruel and for one creature to survive another has to have died.

Being the only visitors in this section of the park we stayed and talked to the keeper for a while, these African birds are certainly very distinctive and unfortunately becoming ever more endangered.

Apenheul is mostly of course a monkey zoo so they count themselves lucky to have some of these birds in their care, all we can hope is that the wild populations and their habitats can be kept safe and that they can survive as a wild species too. In an enclosure close by there was a flock of strange looking birds, these were bald headed ibis and they looked curious, as if the feathers from the tops of their heads had fallen out unexpectedly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There was an informational sign board close by, depicting Venetian masks of the “Plague Doctor”  which share many of the features of these interesting looking birds.

The children marvelled at the “weirdness” of these birds and it was interesting to see how they looked at fairly close quarters. (the birds, not the children!)

From there was moved on to a giant apery area, we all liked this space and the birds but were getting so numb from the cold we lingered less than we would have liked.

All moaning about the cold stopped when we were greeted outside by the Golden Lion Tamarins, these amazing little monkeys had fiery manes on jet black torsos with hints of the flame colours creeping out in their legs and tails.

Several of these were astonishingly close o us in a tree, and extremely skittish, vanishing at speed at any loud noise or big movement, we had to stay very still to get photographs.

I think that it would be very hard to get this close outdoors in the crowded summer season. Leaving the Tamarins behind we finally reach the end of the park where we find a nearly deserted set of stalls and a roundabout. The kids didn’t mind being some of the only customers on the ride and we get some funny photographs for our private family album as they ham it up.

Before we know it we are at the bag return area… and the shop that beings us out at the main entrance again, so full circle.  We warm up in the shop before heading back to the car, with the heating on full blast and quickly getting toasty and warm, we all agree on two things: first we have had a wonderful day and second, on a winter’s visit anywhere  in the future we have to remember to bring enough scarves and gloves!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 10, 2015

Show Us Those Tail Feathers…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in the winter of 2013 when Family Kiwidutch visited the monkey zoo in the Netherlands called Apenheul, the cold weather drove us indoors whenever we could manage it.

After we had had lunch we dallied outside for a little while as we watched several peacocks flirting with each other.

The smaller, lesser plumed female was being courted first by one very persistent male and then a second male joined in, which resulted in both males spending more time chasing each other off than either pursuing the female.

Since the female didn’t look particularly interested anyway, she took the opportunity to escape the pestering for some peace and quiet.

The first male was particularly eager with his flirtations and was most willing to call and fluff out his feathers, and was so busy with his assertions that when the female went around us in order to show her disinterest, her male suitor came right up to us so that he could get past to follow her.

My resulting close-ups of his feathers were better than I ever could have imagined and the “eye” effect of the decorations is actually a brilliant piece of work from mother nature.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 9, 2015

They Look Like Climbing Teddy Bears…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back to the outside areas of Apenheul zoo, Family Kiwidutch pass though first a set of electronic doors, then though a curtain of air that comes up from the floor.

I didn’t get the name of the monkeys housed here but it seems that they don’t mind the cold, in fact they look like fat little bears at some moments when they are sitting on their haunches.

As we turned a corner and came towards a large rock, it becomes apparent that two of these monkey’s are chasing each other, one darts up the semi-sheer rock face with speed that takes my breath away, and even at my quickest I am just able to get photographs of the second monkey who follows it.

If we sit still, a few of the monkeys will come close and check us out a little bit. It might also maybe been that the park had only been open for few days and we were amongst the few visitors who were still novelty items in the eyes of the monkey residents.

On the other side of the large rock we find a smaller kids climbing wall, where children can test out their own climbing skills.Little Mr tried valiantly and failed miserably and then after some minutes both of my offspring started shouting that he was “almost at the top”!It was true, of sorts, because he was clinging on with his hands and in a strange sitting position but his body weight was being held us as high as possible off the ground by his sister.

Believe me, their method was probably the most ungainly you could imagine and we have the family photographs to prove it.  In another part of the park we see some people standing under a roofed shelter looking upwards. When we got there we found some small monkeys up on ropes that have been slung around the rafters, huddled together for warmth and making the best  of the heat lamps hanging down near by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 8, 2015

Children Get Plenty Of Chances To Let Off Steam…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Apenheul zoo is very much a zoo that promotes awareness of monkeys in their natural habitat and the challenges of preserving those natural habitats around the world not only for now but also for the future.

That’s why one of the things our kids lived about Apenheul were the many kid-friendly interactive playthings.

Everything from the playground where there were wire tunnels high up in trees (just like the ones they have seen outdoors for the monkeys) and wooden animals as the play equipment to smaller obstacle course pieces all around the park.

There were also large things to run around on, like the massive raised viewing platform that our kids looked longingly at but were too cold to go and try.

There were also a myriad of education things to explore, like checking out our own arm span against the boards that show the arm span of the average adult orangatang. There were things that made the kids giggle like the giant fibre-glass replica of a turtle shell, it is hollow so the kids can crawl inside and get their photograph taken looking like turtles.

My children both gave it a go and I got some very funny photographs for our family album. If we had been here in Summer than I’m sure that they would have enjoyed these even more but the cold drove us indoor once again. We all opted for a warm lunch to help us thaw out and all in all the food  wasn’t that bad.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 7, 2015

These Young Guys Are Just Monkeying Around Again…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Following yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch are visiting the gorilla enclosure at Apenheul in the Netherlands. Yesterday I focused on the adults, today’s post is a photographic post about the playfulness of the youngsters…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 6, 2015

Gorilla’s Behind Glass, Luckily Very Very Thick Glass…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Coming inside out of the freezing cold during our 2013 visit to Apenheul Zoo, a zoo that is especially for all types of apes.

We have already seen some of the smaller monkeys but now have arrived at the gorilla enclosure.

Gorilla’s are extremely strong and very dangerous so no risk is taken, there is not just one layer of especially reinforced glass but two layers of this glass.

By the entrance of the enclosure there is an example of the glass used so that visitors can be reassured that these huge beasts will not be coming though the windows any time soon and it’s at least 4 cm thick (1.57 inches).

In one of the windows we are lucky to see a mother gorilla with her very small baby, and in time to get a few photographs of the baby, who was very quickly bought close by it’s mother and went out of view.

One of the keepers is around, answering questions from the visitors tells about what one of the large gorillas is doing. They are going to the back of the enclosure to where there is a multiple wired window that is two layers thick.

The keepers places various fruits and vegetables between the two layers of wire and the gorillas are kept busy getting the food out.

I saw a part of an apple on the floor and asked what the favourite food is, and was amazed by the answer: the gorillas adore it when there are onions on offer! and prefer onions over everything else! Wikipedia (link to website at the end of this post) tells us:

Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. They are the largest living primates by physical size. The DNA of gorillas is highly similar to that of humans, from 95–99% depending on what is counted, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the chimpanzees and bonobos.

Gorillas’ natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests in Africa. Although their range covers a small percentage of Africa, gorillas cover a wide range of elevations. The mountain gorilla inhabits the Albertine Rift montane cloud forests of the Virunga Volcanoes, ranging in altitude from 2,200–4,300 metres (7,200–14,100 ft).

Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda. After about five minutes we are lucky, a keeper put in some onions and the gorillas were quick to indulge in their favourite snack.By the entrance is a window that shows all of the fruits and vegetables that the gorillas get given here. The larger apes keep busy, checking out each other and playing around with the youngsters…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Gorilla

June 5, 2015

Leading The Eye Away From Your Worst Feature… Um…To Where?

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch were visiting Arpenheul monkey zoo on a cold winter’s day in 2013.

We have been warming up by viewing some of the monkeys who are preferring to stay indoors and then entertaining ourselves by getting as close to the ones who want to stay outside too.

In the corner of one of the well heated enclosures was an monkey that was sitting in the glass fronted window.

He drew instant laughter from our children because he had not only a long face but also very long hooked nose that made him completely comical.

In fact Himself and I joked that God  must have been in a very strange mood when this monkey was created. The monkey we were looking at is called the Proboscis monkey” or  “long-nosed monkey”.

There were two halves to this  viewing window and when this monkey moved from the first window to the second he changed his sitting pose, choosing this time to face us full on with his legs fully apart, giving us a full frontal view of the “full Monty”.

Our innocent kids were still  completely unaware, laughing and making comments about the “poor monkey’s ugly nose” but Himself and I couldn’t fail to notice something very noticeable a little further down.

A bright red penis, which Himself jokingly whispered into my ear must have been necessary distraction for this monkey to make himself more alluring to the lady apes. It certainly raised our eyebrows! I know that if you have one physical feature that isn’t your best attribute, then stylists always advise to draw attention away from it by emphasising something else that you are happy with. This monkey seems to be taking that idea a little too far!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 4, 2015

Pass Me A Wave Board And I’ll Lemur The Basics…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m just skipping back to part of our outdoor walk in Apenheul Zoo, a zoo specialising in all sorts of monkeys and primates.

Located  in the east of the Netherlands, we thought it would be a nice outing on a winters day over Easter 2013, hoping also to avoid the crowds because the park had only been open a few days for the season.

As it turned out the crowds were not at all a problem because most people had more sense than us and realised that it was going to be a bitterly cold day and stayed firmly indoors  in the warm.

We on the other hand, either endured frozen fingers (moi) or stuffed fists into pockets (the rest of the family) and made the best of things.

One animal that bought a huge smile to everyone’s faces was the Black and White Ruffed Lemur. We found one braving the outside cold but I suppose with his thick black and white woolly jacket of fur he was better insulated than we were.

Originally from Madagascar this monkey was delightfully both super shy and mega inquisitive at the same time.

He (or was that She?) was very skittish and sudden movements had him bounding away, but when Family Kiwidutch, and the visitors around us stood still, he was back to investigate these strange human beings and their kit.

His yellow eyes with an inner darker circle of yellow watched us intently. We all became silent or passed a few barely whispered words when he came right over to investigate the gloved outstretched hand of the lady next to me, and all of the visitors present had to stifle giggles when he checked out the wave-board that another child had put onto the ground close to us.

We whispered that maybe he was asking for lessons so that he could show his mates a few tricks?  Then some other visitors came around the corner talking and laughing loudly and the spell was broken.

The Lemur bounded off through the branches and settled in a tree some distance away, checking us out once more. Had the park been as busy as normal then probably we would have never been treated to such a close up experience with such a beautiful creature… and after he left us everyone in the little group he had just visited started exclaiming how wonderful an animal we had just seen. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 3, 2015

A Siesta For The Parents, But Playing Never Stops For The Kids…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Family Kiwidutch are visiting Apenheul, a primate zoo in the east of the Netherlands. The bitter cold has kept most of the monkeys indoors, which after we have walked outside for a while, can personally confirm was a brilliant idea. The indoor enclosures are well heated, in fact some of glass panels are steaming up from the heat. The glass viewing walls are very thick, so getting a decent photograph is tricky but in this post the yellow breasted capuchins, bonobos and orangatangs were too busy playing, sleeping or eating to pay much attention to us anyway. Let’s look first at the bonobos, who look a little wee bit like chimps but have big bottoms…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Then the yellow breasted capuchins…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The “lump” on Mama’s back is her baby, hanging on very tightly…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The spent a few minutes outside and then retreated back to the warm…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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The  orangatangs… all the older ones were taking a siesta, the young ones preferred to play…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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June 2, 2015

It’s Not Just The Monkeys Keeping Out Of The Cold…

Filed under: Activities,Apenheul,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our visit to Apenheul monkey/primate zoo in the Netherlands continues, the outside space is huge, with specific areas made to suit each of the primates that inhabit that space.

The park encourages many of the primates to move in and out freely, so for instance on the icy cold winters day of our visit back in 2013 the animals could decide for themselves if they wanted to get some fresh air outside or stay in the warmth of their main living quarters.

Since the day we were there was particularly cold many of the primates very understandably opted for a day indoors.

The bigger and more dangerous animals like the gorillas can “travel” around their compound but not out of it, other smaller and less strong apes, ones that do not endanger the safety of the visiting public can not only travel around certain sections of the park but also mingle freely with the public, hence the need for our monkey-proof bag covers. It’s not only monkeys who were making themselves scarce in the outside areas, so were the visiting public, the freezing weather putting many people off this early  in the year.

This means that we share the entire park with a hundred or maybe two hundred people at most, so no queues anywhere. The downside was that we didn’t imagine that it was going to be quite this cold and one pair of gloves shared between four people isn’t fun. Each of the kids ended up with one glove and I hoped they appreciated the sacrifice because being on crutches I couldn’t put my hands in my pockets as they did. Later we heard that the temperature had hovered around freezing all day and had we known that before we went, it probably would have changed our plans for the day too. Clearly if we want to see a few more monkey’s we better head inside…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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