Silver Pheasant, Central Zoo, Kathmandu
On my visit to the Central Zoo in Kathmandu I was interested to see some of the animal and bird species I had missed seeing out in their natural habitat. One of these species was the beautiful Silver Pheasant. This species is widespread in mountain forests of south east Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam as well as China.
It is a widespread and common species in its natural habitat. It has also become a common species kept by aviculturalists.
I was disappointed that the above photo was spoiled by the wire mesh of the cage. Many exhibits in the Kathmandu Zoo are spoiled in this way.
Kalij Pheasant, Central Zoo, Kathmandu
One of the birds I saw on my visit to the Central Zoo in Kathmandu was this Kalij Pheasant. It was actually labelled “Kaliz Pheasant” but I assume they meant the former. Some of the other labels also showed variations in spelling of species names.
I am not at all familiar with the species and haven’t seen it in the wild. My research has shown me that this pheasant is native to the northern parts of the Indian sub-continent, particularly the slopes of the Himalayas in Nepal. I didn’t have the opportunity to see this species in its natural habitat during my stay in Nepal.
I have also discovered that this species is widely kept by aviculturalists and that there are several distinct races.
Cattle Egret, Central Zoo, Kathmandu
One of the beautiful birds I saw on display during my visit to the Central Zoo in Kathmandu was this Cattle Egret. This species was quite familiar to me as it occurs locally here in South Australia. I’ve also seen this species on display in various zoological collections here in Australia.
This species has an interesting history here in Australia. It began colonizing parts of Australia during the 1940s, probably coming from Indonesia. Since then it has spread throughout northern Australia, down through eastern Australia as far as Tasmania and southern Western and South Australia.
It has a wide range of preferred habitats, including pastures, croplands, paddocks, swamps, wetlands, estuaries and tidal mudflats. The individual shown in the photo is showing a little orange plumage on the forehead. In full breeding plumage this species can be spectacular with the whole of the head, throat and front a bright orange colour.
The species is native to Africa and Asia but it has spread to both north and south America as well as to Australia.
The photo below was taken of a bird in a walk through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo in South Australia. It shows the orange breeding plumage.
Wild Water Buffalo, Central Zoo, Kathmandu
The buffalo is used in many parts of Nepal’s agricultural areas. They are also common as a beast of burden throughout Asia. Very few – perhaps as few as 4000 individuals – remain as truly wild animals. Throughout my travels in Thailand and Nepal I witnessed the use of this animal on farms, but farmers are turning to what one guide called “Japanese buffaloes” (tractors made in Japan).
There are small populations in the wild throughout its former range, and can now be found in India, Bhutan, Vietnam and Thailand. It has been widely domesticated and feral populations have established in many places. One of these populations includes a huge feral presence in northern Australia where they have been responsible for much environmental damage. In recent years there has been an active eradication programme. Over recent decades large numbers have been shot from helicopters and the population is now under control with only small pockets surviving.
Himalayan Black Bear
The Himalayan Black Bear is also known as the Asiatic Black Bear, the Tibetan Black Bear or the Moon Bear. It is a medium sized sharp clawed black coloured bear. It has a distinctive white or cream V marking on its chest. It is closely related to the American Black Bear.
The Asiatic Black Bear has a wide distribution range spanning from the east to west of the Asian continent. This bear can be found in the forests of hilly and mountainous areas in East Asia and South Asia, including South Korea, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Burma, southern Siberia in Russia, northeastern China, Taiwan and Japan.
I found it very sad to observe the bear shown in the photo above on display in the Central Zoo in Kathmandu. Its cage was rather small and very uninteresting to the bear who was constantly on the move, obviously very bored with its enclosure. At least Australian zoos try to display this species in large airy enclosures that try to simulate its normal habitat. The keepers here also go to great lengths to keep the animals stimulated in many ways.
In today’s more enlightened world there is no excuse for displaying animals in the way shown in Kathmandu.