In my last post, D1602 – The Odd Canaries, I described my visits to two of the Canary Islands – Gran Canaria and La Palma – made on the first and third days (the odd days) of our time in the Canaries. This post describes my visit to a third island – Tenerife – made on the second day, an even day.
The shore tour I selected in Tenerife was a simple coach transfer to Loro Parque, a 13.5 hectare (33 acre) zoo located on the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz on the north-west coast of the island. I visited Puerto de la Cruz as part of the shore tour on my last visit to Tenerife on my way to South America, documented in my post L1602 – Here be dragons.
Loro Parque started with just 150 parrots – loro is Spanish for parrot – and now houses more than 4000, representing 350 species and sub-species. It therefore houses the largest collection of parrots in the world. The park now also houses many other animals and birds, and features the world’s largest indoor penguin display house, and Europe’s longest shark tunnel and largest dolphin display pool.
We still had a local guide on this ‘tour’, who gave us information about the island and places we passed as we took the main road from our port – Santa Cruz de Tenerife – to Puerto de la Cruz. On arrival at Loro Parque, we were given a return time to meet at the coach – until then we could accompany the guide, or at any time elect to go off on our own.
Initially I was happy to go with the guide as she took us to see the sea lion show, the penguins and then the dolphin show. After the dolphin show I elected to go off on my own, as she was leading the tour party to seeing the orca show. I had felt a little uncomfortable watching the sea lions and dolphins perform, but they seemed willing participants for the food offered; but I just do not believe creatures as large and intelligent as orcas should be in small pools performing for the public. I do have a rather ambivalent view towards zoos in general, very much depending on the conditions in which the animals are held.
Generally I was impressed with the accommodation provided and the condition of the animals I saw, although there were still lots of parrots held in relatively small aviaries. The two attractions which impressed me most were the penguin house, where they live on one of the largest icebergs outside of the polar regions, and the Katandra Treetops. The latter is a very large free-flight aviary where the birds can fly from tree to tree to tree; and steps, platforms and a bridge allow you to view and hear the birds from tree-top level.
Anyway enough of my words, here are some of the better photographs from the hundreds I took on the day. To limit your boredom, I’ve limited my selection to just one shot of any one species:
A few minutes before the appointed time, I made my way back to the waiting coach, as did most of our party. As we were not all back on time, the guide went back to the park to look for the missing people. Around 15 minutes late one couple got back on the coach quite unrepentant, saying they were not late as the guide was still at the park entrance looking for the other people! After twenty minutes the guide returned to the coach, and on conferring with the ship’s representative on board, we left for the port without the missing people. They were left to find their own way back, probably by taxi.
Despite my misgivings about some aspects of zoos, I did enjoy this ‘tour’ on an even day in the Canaries. I saw and photographed lots of animals and birds, but even a canary? – I don’t think so!