Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Zoo at Tregomeur

 When we return to Brittany the Rags and I like to visit the zoo at Trégomeur. We're rather fond of zoos, at least those that treat their residents well, take part in conservation projects and attempt to educate their visitors, which is a far cry from the zoos that I remember from my childhood.

We're soft-touches when it comes to adopting animals, we've supported polar bears, tigers and giraffes, bats and owls, a scorpion and a snake.

The Ragazzo was once given a year's sponsorship of an orangutan, a rather free-thinking individual that was last seen using a leaf as an umbrella before vanishing into the rain forests of Borneo. Hopefully to meet a nice lady orangutan and make lots of babies. 

The Ragazza  is particularly fond of snow leopards. There's a pair living at the Trégomeur zoo and yes, we also sponsor their relatives in the wild, and the communities who once made a living from their beautiful skins, but who are now encouraged to protect and preserve them instead. Such projects gladden our hearts.

It's quite thrilling to stand and gaze into the eyes of a tiger, and even if you're thinking "What a beautiful animal and how disgraceful that they're still hunted to make useless, so-called medicinal concoctions for ignorant people" while he's thinking "hmm, given half a chance I'd eat her!" it's still wonderful to encounter a tiger.

It's a good indication that the animals are happy when they breed. Last year the otters had had babies....


And here they are....

If you are very lucky your visit will coincide with a quite fantastic floor-show, courtesy of the siamangs.

All of a sudden one of the siamangs will suddenly start to strut and whoop and holler. He will throw his long arms up, as if he's surrendering, and run around shrieking, and then the others will join in a loud and lively display.

It doesn't happen often and it only lasts for about twenty minutes, but it's great fun. We've witnessed it a few times but, as I said, it's an infrequent event so most of the time you'll just see them as dark shapes in the trees...

The park has an Asian theme and is beautifully laid out in an area that is easily explored in an afternoon without causing that exhausted, fractious behaviour that often follows a day out with children.

And the landscaping is almost as wonderful as the animals...

And of course, being French, it caters very well for fresh-air inspired appetites with a pleasant restaurant and a cafe that serves lovely sausage-in-baguettes and fries, as well as waffles, crèpes, ice-creams etc.

And there's an authentic Vietnamese (I think) farmhouse that was dismantled and transported to Brittany to be rebuilt at the zoo...

Complete with furnishings and the most wonderful wooden carvings...

The trail leads through the flamingo enclosure, it's necessary to remain on the path in order not to disturb the birds, which look as if they'd fall over if startled, but you can still pick up feathers

But not from the peacocks, they bring bad luck, as my daughter always reminds me... 

Wild horses...

Tempting as they may be, especially for one who never outgrew those pony-mad years, these horses are untamed and so can be dangerous. 

 At certain times of the day a keeper appears to give a talk about both them and their camel-companions. In French, of course, but quite fascinating even if you're not fluent.

If ever they need an English interpreter they can contact me anytime!

I do worry when I see bears pacing...

It's not always a good sign, is it?

But these guys seemed to be happy enough...

Can you believe that bears were once baited for fun? Or that dancing bears were made to perform in circuses? Or that in some countries bears are still kept confined in cages and milked for their bile?

A perfectly-adapted desert-dweller.

If you've ever seen a camel in a bad mood you'll know to steer clear of it's front end when it decides to spit!



The Ragazza wandering next to a banana bush.

From which you can get an idea of how relaxing and zen is the zoo's landscape.  

We're always fascinated by this beast

But we rarely see it... 

It prefers to hide in here...


Unlike this guy who's happiest sunbathing and doesn't mind who stops to chat...  

At the end of the visit there is a shop.
It's a very nice shop and we always stop to buy wooden buddhas for my collection, and DVDs of African women singing, and elephant-poo writing paper, and wind chimes, and cuddly snow leopards and...
Well, it helps to fund the zoo and their work and so is a good cause, n'est-ce pas?

Of course there are lots more to see...
I could post pictures for hours, but this is just a taster, something to wet your appetite and encourage you to go visit the zoo and see it for yourselves...

When I return to Brittany to run a B&B from my home you'll all be most welcome to come and stay, and if you want to visit the zoo I'll provide all the information you need, including English translations.

Info from the zoo's website:

Le Zoo de Trégomeur en quelques chiffres

Le nouveau parc zoologique de Trégomeur est sans doute l’un des premiers zoo de France a être aménagé une seule fois, sur un site quasi vierge (presque tous les abris de l’ancien Zoo ont en effet été démolis).
Cet aménagement, qui a duré 2 ans, a constitué un véritable «tour de force».
Il a fallut en effet transformer totalement le site pour :

Aménager :

  • 13 kms de réseau enterré.
  • 6 kms de sentiers de découverte et voiries
  • 300 m de passerelles bois suspendues
  • plus de 10 ponts et passages pour visiteurs 

C'est dans cet esprit qu'ils ont retenu le principe d'une collection d'animaux organisée autour du thème de la faune asiatique.

C’est plus d’une vingtaine d’espèces d’animaux rares, protégés pardes conventions internationales (notamment la CITES) car menacés dans leur milieu d’origine, qui seront présentés au public :
Panthères des neiges, tigres, chameaux de Bactriane, chevaux dePréwalski, loutres asiatiques, entelles, siamangs, porcs-épics,pélicans, grands cormorans, gibbons, tortue asiatique, grue deManchourie, flamants roses, cerf du père David, nilgauts, antilopescervicapres, ours malais, dholes, lémuriens…


  1. I'm so glad you posted about this because I've been trying to persuade Tom we ought to visit since I heard about the baby otters. He's doubtful about zoos but I'm sure this will set his mind at rest!

    Have you actually seen the snow leopard? The zoo's information is quite honest about the fact that they're nocturnal so not necessarily very visible. In fact it seems to me a sign of a good zoo if you can't always easily see the animals as it means they've got space to retire to. Love the story about the free-thinking orangutan! A tiger in the zoo at Lyon once tried to pee on me. They can't half shoot it a long way...

    1. I am doubtful about zoos too but this one is very educational and the enclosures are large and afford a great deal of privacy to their occupants.

      We've seen the snow leopards on each occasion but only from a distance. The binturong is very elusive, as is the 'fishing cat' but we don't mind that, we all have days when we don't want to be social!

      I'd recommend the zoo, as you can tell from what I wrote I am very much for animal rights and I approve. And it's a nice place in which to wander, just the right size, lovely plants and contented animals.

      The only thing we haven't tried is the kids' play area :)

      I wonder if it's good luck to have a tiger pee on you? I expect it's quite aromatic! Is it part of the mating ritual? That would worry me a little, but quite flattering!

  2. Julia, stop fantasising! Let us call a spade a spade; for aromatic read 'stinks', so it would not be good luck. So should it ever happen to you, don't come calling at our door.

    1. On reflection, having owned a tomcat I suspect that a male tiger would smell similar, multiplied by a factor of a hundred so...

  3. Don't take any notice of Tom, he's just being rude. Though not as rude as a peeing tiger which is a very rude thing indeed. You would be very welcome in the unlikely event he describes to come and clean up at our place, we have a hose pipe in the garden.

    The tiger in question lifted its tail and did the tom cat thing out of the mesh of its enclosure. The resulting arc easily cleared the ten feet or so of ground to the safety barrier and landed on the path where I had been standing a moment before. I didn't hang around to notice what it smelled like.

    1. I have to admit that on first reading Tom's comment I mistook him for an internet Troll and then I re-read it and thought, no, it's someone who didn't appreciate my silly humour, and then I thought oh, it's Lucy's Tom :)

      Not rude, just speaking his mind, which is rare these days...

      Thank you for the offer of a hose, I used to get hosed down by my dad when I returned home muddy from the riding stables so I am accustomed to such a method of cleaning.

      (That is one impressive tiger)

  4. PS Lucy and Tom. The Ragazza and I will be back in August, perhaps we could meet up for a trip to the zoo together? I'll bring a brolly in case the tiger misbehaves!

  5. There or anywhere else would be lovely.

    1. Good evening Tom, we'd love to meet up with you and Lucy in August, I will e-mail to see what we can arrange


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