Some of the most entertaining highlights of my trips came from meeting animals. In case you don't know, I encountered some bizarre animals during some of my trips. I saw sharks, face to face, during my dives in Bira. I was so caught up watching a bull fight in Toraja. I have also played with cute fresh water jellyfishes in Kakaban Lake!

I am such an animal lover, I got so hyped up when I was asked to host the South East Asia Zoos & Aquariums Association Conference 2016!
What happened on the last day of SEAZA Conference 2016.
 For 4 days, zoos representatives from all over South East Asia came together in different countries every year to talk about animal welfare in zoos. Since it was my first time in this conference, I was very much interested to learn more about this topic as it is aligned to my interest. 

This year's researches from various NGOs brought interesting topics for the zoo representatives to think about. Shuhei Mitsusaka from Ueno Zoological Garden presented an experiment that he did on blood draw training for polar bears. It took him 65 days to condition a polar bear to human touch and finally succeeded to draw blood on the 109th day. Patience is the key in handling aggressive animals.

Francis Cabana from Wildlife Reserves Singapore presented a research that reminds zoo keepers to put nutrients ahead of food. Zoo keepers need to figure out the right nutrients for every specific animals instead of giving just any food that they assume to be healthy for the animals. 

A less scientific research from Bernard Harisson shows that our today's corporate structures had actually mirrored animal social structures. I was surprised to know that female Hyenas are the leaders of the pack, but I was even more surprised when I knew that female Hyena have a 7 inches long clitoris that looks like a penis. Imagine giving birth through a penis.
Bernard Harrison, as seen on Naked Ape Naked Boss.
Jill Alread carried out a presentation that is so much related to corporate communication and public relation. There have been a lot of attacks on various zoos that came from the media. This is happening all over the world because bad press is good for shows. While it is true that some zoos need to be better managed, it is also important for zoos to communicate their commitment to take care of the animals before the media communicates otherwise. She closed her presentation with a profound statement that reminded zoo managers to run the zoo with love instead of doing it for the money.

There are definitely more interesting researches that were presented in those 3 days, but these are some of which that really caught my attention. I also had the chance to meet and talk with various animal experts, I have to say that I'm very much honored with the opportunity. 

The highlight of it all was a tour to Taman Safari Indonesia. A place that I have never visited before!
A white tiger spotted in Taman Safari, one of the endangered animals in the world.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting Taman Safari to be as awesome as it is. With all the press going around talking bad about zoos, I was expecting to see mistreated, starved and caged animals. However, that wasn't the case.

I have to say that I am very much impressed by this safari park. Other hundreds of animal experts from SEAZA Conference agreed with me that the animals in Taman Safari are well taken care of. At the very least, the ones on display were well fed and healthy!
Some of the monkeys I met in the zoo. Bottom left is a photo of a monkey saved from smuggling. Do you know that animal smuggling is the second biggest smuggling crime in the world? They only come second after drugs.
A pony horse! For kids only.

A jaguar spotted in an exhibition.
The fattest saltwater lake crocodiles I've ever seen! These chickens could survive for a few weeks until the crocs are hungry again.
The penguins of Taman Safari survived well due to the cold temperature of Bogor.
Meet the meerkats of Taman Safari! However cute they are, they eat both plants and animals, making them the cutest omnivores alive?
An elephant spotted from our bus.
I enjoyed learning about these animals. There were board signs everywhere, displaying facts and knowledge about each animals we pass by. As we were walking around, I was so disheartened by the fact that some of these animals were saved from smuggling. Taman Safari have been continuously trying hard to save endemic animals of our country by raising them and saving them from smuggling. Once they have been raised well, Taman Safari have also prepared them to be released into their natural habitat.

Other than those facts given on the sign boards throughout the tour, I was very much enjoying Taman Safari's educational shows. They have 9 shows throughout the day and I was lucky enough to witness the sea lion and the bird shows! 
A sea lion education show.
A sea lion named 'Cinta Laura' leaped upwards to catch food from the zookeeper's mouth.
A captivated audience.
Another visitor was invited to take part in the bird show.
Everything was better than I hoped for. They even had great facilities all around the zoo. The animals were placed in themed exhibitions to educate and gain public interest. The zoo itself provides attraction rides starting from roller coasters to gondola for all ages. They even have haunted house!

I wasn't very much interested in these attractions, but I would still recommend Taman Safari as a whole park. It is definitely a fun family park to be visited during weekends.

The white tiger exhibition.
Attraction rides.
I am very thankful for the chance to host SEAZA Conference 2016. Everyday of the conference were very much enriching. I didn't just have fun, but I came back with more awareness, knowledge and passion for the animal.

As for Taman Safari itself, it is definitely worth to visit. Honestly speaking, it isn't as well maintained as Bali Bird & Reptile Park, but it was still very much entertaining! I will display more photos of animals from the Taman Safari next week! I hope that it will be enough as I wouldn't be able to update anything else during my trip to Timika next week.

Last but not least, here is a photo of me and Albis, a friendly snake I met in Taman Safari. Have a good week ahead!
Bonding time with Albis.

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