Nordens Ark: sustainable habitat for endangered wild animals
Another perk to all ATWS delegates was a “Day of Adventure” on Monday, September 16th, 2019. I chose to go to the Nordens Ark conservancy zoo, a 45-minute bus ride from Gothenberg. It is family-friendly but also of interest to anybody concerned with animal conservation efforts. It is an excellent side day trip if you are in Gothenborg (Swedish=Goteborg).
Introduction by the zoo (aka habitat) director
We enjoyed a Swedish Fika (a snack & coffee) while listening to an introductory presentation given by the director. We then headed outside to the beehive area. Some of us were offered beekeeper safety suits & clothing. I decided to watch from afar.
Meanwhile, we had another activity to learn; how to scythe the grass. I tried it and quickly got the hang of it, but I worked up a sweat in my winter raincoat. Here’s me working the land.
After learning about these farming methods still used at Nordens Ark, our group strolled along the path to see the languid cows in the farm area.
Next up was the European Bison
These giant shaggy fur animals can weigh up to one ton. The ones we saw seemed friendly and curious as we took photos and videos of them through the fence. Once an endangered species, their numbers are slowly climbing back up to over 6,000 in the wild thanks to conservation efforts.
Abyhallen Rock Carvings
You can discover some ancient rock carvings dating from the Bronze Age around 3,000BC. Hundreds of animal and boat symbols were carved into the granite hillside, leaving an interesting story to interpret.
The Przewalski Vildhast
Another animal that had gone extinct was the miniature horse found in the wilds of Mongolia. Przewalski’s vildhast (wild horse) has ancient origins. References to it were found in the Lascaux caves in France, dating back to 8,000BC. They look solid and sturdy and seem to be grazing well at Nordens Ark.
The Asian Wild Dog
Watch the video as the Asiatisk Vildhund springs ready, sniffing the air and twitching its ears. It seems prepared to listen and hunt. Others sit up high on the cliffside, observing us humans walking by.
The Red Panda
This little creature was also semi-hiding but up in the trees. My photos couldn’t get a clear shot of it in the light, but you can see its shadowy figure. Our guide narrated a lot of engaging information about how it has no thumb. Instead, it has a large bone in its pad that acts as an opposing thumb.
The Amur Tiger (formerly called the Siberian Tiger)
Lastly, we came to the Tiger enclaves. We saw the endangered Amur Tiger up close and personal. It was terrific yet sad to see these magnificent creatures in a cage. They are poached and nearing extinction, but thanks to Nordens Arks’ efforts since 2011, they are being conserved. There may be only 500 left in the Russian Far East.
We watched tigers let out of the cage to have lunch. The zoo staff hangs a hunk of raw meat high up in a tree. The tigers sniff it out and climb the tree to feast.
Conservation and Sustainable Efforts by Nordens Ark
I enjoyed my visit to Nordens Ark and would undoubtedly go again. I enjoyed the presentations on how they manage sustainability for the grounds to the conservation of dozens of endangered species of animals. There are hundreds of animal exhibits to explore, making it worthy of a full-day trip by car or bus. You won’t be disappointed.