On the 15th of April 18, 2018, I got invited for a visitation to the Tama Zoo. This visit was a way the African Studies Center here at TUFS welcomes its freshmen. And as special as they have made me feel since I join them, I got invited to be a part of it. We were about sixteen students with two professors (Oishi-sensei and Sakai-sensei).
The trip was to be in the morning but the weather was not good. It had drizzled all morning so the time for our going was rescheduled to the afternoon where the weather would be clear. We got to the zoo at noon and after a half an hour lunch break, we began the sightseeing. Based on the regions the animals were from, the park was divided into three main gardens, the was the African Garden, the Asian Garden and the Australian Garden. We first went through the African Garden where we saw, among many African animals, lions, elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees and ostriches. It took us close to an hour just going through the African gardens.
About a kilometre further, we passed through the Asian Gardens which had a wide range of eagles, from white-tailed sea eagles to Steller's sea eagles. There were the popular Przewalski's wild horses, Red panda and the grey wolf. I saw a snow leopard wildly pacing to and fro its cage with its long fluffy tail lazily swaging behind it. It was really exciting- seeing all those animals in their naturally simulated habitat. I got to see the kangaroo, koala, tiger, Caribbean flamingoes, red-crowned cranes, owls, different kinds of deer and a host more of other exotic animals. I saw so many animals that I have only heard of or seen on television. The animal that caught my eyes was the owl. I was so much taken by the whiteness of its feathers and how it kept rotating its neck anytime the visitors got close to it. By the time we had gone through the three sections, we were heavily exhausted.
One thing that I notice about the park that I think was quite fascinating was the attempt made by the zookeepers to replicate the natural habitat of these animals. Most of the cages of the animal had waterfalls or streams gently flowing through their cages. Even for the Chimpanzees and the Orangutans, ropes and wings were provided much like what they would have in the jungle. There were anthills provided for the chimps. But I came to understand that it had juice in them instead of ants. It was a very beautiful sight. I also observed that, due to how vast the park was, free buses had been provided to shuttled tired visitors through the park.
After we had all converge at where we had begun, we said our goodbyes and I joined the group that was going back to Tama Station. Some of the students, on our way out, bought souvenirs from the gift shop which was located at the entrance of the zoo.
It must be said, I enjoyed this trip, much more, the hearty chats I had with the students and their interests in Africa. I felt satisfied answering some of the questions raised about Africa. I got to know some botanical names of the animals we saw.
In all, it was an exhilarating adventure I will never forget. I had fun, made friends and enjoyed nature as the Tama Zoo presented.
I thank the African Studies Centre for this exposure.
Charles Acheampong Agyebeng.