Saturday, June 02, 2018

Tropical Monkeys Section @ Sapporo Maruyama Zoo [Hokkaido, Japan]

Coming from a tropical country and one with a zoo that's known to be one of the top ten around the world, i wasn't expecting anything much when i stepped into the tropical monkeys zone at Maruyama Zoo.

The line of segmented glass enclosures greeted us.

Mock tree trunks with tied up tree branches and sometimes, toys to simulate playing. Strangely, we didn't see any primates in the enclosures.

Turned out they were all 'outdoors'; albeit still in caged enclosures to take advantage of the cool summer in Hokkaido. As Singapore is summer all year round (weather is either hot, wet or both), the residents mostly preferred places with air-conditioning; i.e. shopping malls. 

Finally spotted the monkeys! 

Have i mentioned before that i have always been drawn to the mandrill with its unique, colourful features? Two most noticeable features stand out; one is obviously the face.

The other is the butt! In the wild, mandrills live in big groups and if you want to find a dominant male, look for the one with the most vibrant face and butt! To read more about mandrill, click here

Ring-tailed lemurs; popularized by the characterisation of a confident King Julien in the animation movie, Madagascar

De Brazza's monkey - with an iconic orange forehead, the one in the zoo appeared depressed. I think it's hard for humans not to attribute human behaviour to animals; put it this way, put me in a cage and i am likely going to go into a depressive state! 

Signs in English and Japanese were displayed to educate visitors.  

Ruffed lemur - with eyes that glazed over, it's sad to see and while i am of the opinion that animals should be free, where possible; i am also in a dilemma as i understand the educational value of a zoo.

Tufted capuchin - it can be heartbreaking for some (especially animal activists) to see an animal trying their ways to break out of their cages and unlike a pet dog, you can't just bring them out for a walk.

I am not going to delve into the various, often emotional, debates about animal rights and welfare in zoos etc; i have definitely seen some that ought to be closed down but i hardly have the credentials to step in and give my point of view. 


Maruyama ZooMiyagaoka 3 Banchi 1, Chuo-ku, 
064-0959, Hokkaido, Japan

Nearest Subway Station
Maruyama Koen (Exit 3).
Walk about 15 minutes.


Entrance tickets to the zoo apply at 600 yen an adult.

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