WHAT better way to get a glimpse into the animal kingdom than getting up-close to them? At the Sunway Petting Zoo, this is made possible. Aiming to bring children closer to animals and foster appreciation for the animal world, the petting zoo boasts of about 170 species of wild and rare animals.
Located inside the Sunway Extreme Park, it is the latest addition to Bandar Sunway, which is easily accessible via the major expressways.
The facility is spread over six hectares of land, so be prepared to spend the whole day there.
Highlights include the Albino and Burmese pythons, the Victoria Crown Pigeon, the biggest pigeon in the world and Australian marsupials such as wallabies.
Visitors can see various “habitats” such as the Snake Cavern where the world’s longest python rules, or the Savannah Plains where raucous reptiles roam.
There is also an indoor area where several animals such as racoons, fishes and scorpions are kept.
The bird sanctuary houses various species of eagles including the Winston Eagles (from the United States), African vultures, cockatoos and hornbills. Water fowl such as rare ducks and flamingos can be found at a small pond not too far away.
The petting zoo caters to children through an interactive area where they can feel, touch, pick up and even feed rabbits and guinea pigs.
This school holiday will feature a “Show and Tell” at at specific times where children can catch a few talented blue and gold macaws play basketball and act on a film set. The star of the show is none other than King Kong, a two-year-old parrot.
The petting zoo is open from 11am to 7pm on weekdays and from 10am to 7pm on weekends and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays except if it is a school holiday or public holiday. Entrance fees are RM22 for adults and RM16 for children.
For further information about the Sunway Petting Zoo, call 03-8027 0896.
Animal sanctuary in the north
Another zoo with an open concept is the Taiping Zoo.
Tucked between the Taiping Lake Gardens and Larut Hill (Maxwell Hill), the zoo is blessed with a beautiful natural setting.
Taiping Zoo is currently home to more than 180 species of animals including tigers, lions, elephants and orang utans. Under its animal awareness programme, children can feed and pet certain animals.
The zoo is also popular for its night safari programme where entrance fees are RM10 per adult and RM6 per child. Fees for daytime visits are RM4 per adult and RM2 per child.
The zoo also provides a 25% discount for senior citizens and adults who come in groups for the day visit.
Students who come in groups are entitled to a 50% discount. For details, contact the zoo at 05-8086577, fax: 05-8066025 or e-mail zootaiping@zootaiping. gov.my or log onto its website at www.zootaiping.gov.my
Hidden at the fringe of Kuala Lumpur is a rainforest reservewith its share of natural wonders. The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Kepong, provides forest tour packages in its grounds, which include outdoor recreation and public education. It is also a popular spot for picnickers, joggers, cyclists, tourists and nature study groups. Various activities are held in the green haven, from family day events, treasure hunts, camping, birdwatching, and jungle trekking to nature photography.
For the holidays, various activities for the family have been planned. Call 03-62797574 for details.
Contrary to popular belief, bird watching is a simple, cheap and easy hobby to take up. According to the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), you only really need three items to begin this intriguing pastime: a pair of binoculars, a field guide to help you identify the species you encounter, and a field notebook to write down your observations.
More importantly, there are more rewards to birding (as bird watching is called in the birdie circle) than peering up into the sky. Says experienced birdie, Lily Tong, “Besides learning about different bird species, you also get to meet various people while enjoying the fresh air and natural environment.”
Highlands such as Fraser’s Hill and Mount Kinabalu are fantastic bird-watching sites as they are stops for diverse kinds of birds.
Other popular sanctuaries are Kuala Selangor, Selangor, and Maxwell Hill, Taiping.
However, if you can’t travel far, you can try the bird sanctuaries around your house too, such Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve in Petaling Jaya, Bukit Cahaya in Shah Alam or Bukit Bendera in Penang.
There are many bird watching websites on the Internet featuring guides to buying your first binoculars, identifying birds, birding tips, etiquette and many more. Or you can join the Malaysian Nature Society at http://www.mns.org.my and join in their birding activities.
Volunteer at SPCA
Calling animal lovers. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Malaysia welcomes volunteers who can spare time to help clean cages and feed the animals at their centre.
Volunteers are needed most in the mornings from 9am to 12pm as this is the busiest time after the morning feed when help is needed to wash up the area and sometimes the animals.”
Volunteers are free to choose the time that is most convenient to them but they need to be aged 16 and above. For details, call the SPCA at 03-4256 5312.
Adopt a pet
This holiday might also be a good time to adopt a pet. PAWS Malaysia is looking for homes for a few dogs and cats. Those interested can rest assured that the animals are healthy, properly fed and cared for.
They only need proper homes and loving owners.
Those interested can call 03-78461087, but do clear it with your parents first.
– COMPILED BY HARIATI AZIZAN
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