Before my visit in August, I confess I was feeling a little resentful towards Whipsnade Zoo, because over the years they seem to have taken so many animals from London Zoo, which is no longer as jam-packed with animals as it used to be. (Dare I say, “when I was a nipper”?) But that’s the point, London Zoo was rather overcrowded, whereas the animals at Whipsnade have a lot more space. Likewise we humans. So we were able to take a leisurely stroll and look at the animals in something far more like their natural environment might be. They have space to move about, to indulge in a bit of “pecking order” activity, to groom and hug when appropriate, to choose a quiet spot by themselves when the mood took.
Perhaps the elephant keeper we chatted with put it in good perspective, explaining that many animals no longer have a safe space in their real natural habitat, so they must make the best of what’s available in the zoo.
And maybe that sounds familiar? We must all make the best of our situation, and try not to mind that we can no longer roam as far afield as we once could; whether because of age and infirmity, or unsafety of war zones.
So, if you’re looking for a good zoo, with a good variety of healthy-looking animals, I’d recommend Whipsnade “any day of the week”.