Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Blackpool Zoo in 1977

I'm still going through albums of muddled and random colour slides taken in what to many these days will be the dark and distant past... To a teenager, 1977 is as far back as the Battle of Hastings, but that's where we are going in this article. Er... 1977 not 1066... Even I wasn't taking photos so far back...

These days you enter the Zoo through a purpose-built snazzy entrance with the Reception building, shops, school rooms and lecture theatres and turnstiles. You come out of the turnstiles to the tortoise enclosure. Back in 1977 you entered near the old Stanley Park air park club house and observation tower. The elephants have their home next door but in 1977 they shared some of those large enclosures with the giraffes and a couple of rhinos. They were kept strictly separate of course, and the giraffes had to take turns with the rhinos to come out to play.

The tortoises had their home somewhere behind the camels if I remember rightly. This was the largest tortoise - it could easily be the same one that trundles about now in the new enclosure as they live up to 150 years! The largest male of today is called Darwin and is about 90 years old. If my photo is of the same tortoise then he was a mere youngster of around 50... He has a few more house-mates than he used to do and is probably a fair bit bigger than he was then. You can tell roughly how old a tortoise is by counting the rings on his shell segments - a bit like counting rings on a tree!

A favourite for me has always been the big cats and in 1977 the large male was called Leo and was the proud father of two cubs.

They were a bit stationary on this particular day! And I have no photos at all of their Mum from this visit, so she must have been being kept indoors.

Dad, though, was only too pleased to snooze beside his two sleepy offspring, occasionally looking round to make sure they were not under any threat.

And lastly a look at this character who was not happy at having his photograph taken...

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