On our last evening during our stay in Addis Ababa late last year my wife and I went for a stroll through the local streets and marketplaces. It was interesting to see a way of life in complete contrast with what we are used to here in Australia. Of particular interest were the many animals for sale in the main street of the suburb where we were staying while visiting out daughter. The animals – cattle, goats and sheep – were very docile and despite not being yarded in any way were not at all spooked by the noisy car, truck and bus traffic a metre or so away, nor did the many pedestrians upset them either.
I must have looked like a very rich person because I was offered many animals as we walked along. I was not sure what the going price for a nice lamb would have been, so I politely declined to buy any. Besides, we were scheduled to fly out a few hours later; I didn’t want to try explaining a live goat or lamb under my arm as carry-on luggage.
One of the features of travelling around the city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia is seeing animals everywhere. Donkeys are common beast of burden and drivers have to be especially wary of them. Cattle are found in various parts of the city and we passed several markets where they were for sale.
By far the most common animals would have to be sheep and goats. They all looked the same to me, but my daughter assures me, after talking to the locals while she was teaching there, that the tails of goats stick up and the tails of sheep hang down. I never had the opportunity to really put this to the definitive test. Had I shown more than a passing interest in the animals I would have found myself having to buy one. Not sure what I would have done with it had this occurred.
Just as we were leaving the camping grounds at Pondalowie Bay we came across a small mob of Western Grey Kangaroos right next to the road. Being in the Innes National Park this would be quite a normal sighting. In fact, this group was not at all perturbed by our car just a few metres away as they are quite used to vehicles moving through the park every day. During the summer months vehicles probably pass this way every few minutes.
Various forms of kangaroos and wallabies abound in rural Australian regions (pun intended). They are a hazard to fast moving vehicles on country roads, especially at night when they tend to come out to graze. I have experienced first hand the damage a ‘roo can do to a car with no protective bars. The damage is not only to the car; many hundreds, perhaps thousands of kangaroos and wallabies become road kill statistics every year. Sad but true.
As we drove back to our motel in the dusk that evening I slowed done. I didn’t want to add to those statistics.
The beautiful old 19th century building shown above used to house the elephants at Adelaide Zoo. The zoo no longer houses elephants here and it has been converted into an historic interpretive centre (see photo below).
I can remember going for a ride on an elephant at the Adelaide Zoo when I was a child (more than 50 years ago). The last elephant held in this zoo’s animal collection died at the Monarto Zoo section a few years ago. While neither section of the zoo currently holds any elephants, I understand there are plans to re-introduce some to Monarto Zoo in the next few years.
Both sections of the Adelaide Zoo in South Australia have a god collection of Meerkats on display. These delightful animals are always a favourite with visitors to the main zoo in Adelaide as well as the Monarto section of the zoo.