>Alpenzoo, Part 2

>The wolves! This beauty was the only one visible, the other off somewhere behind the trees (they have more space than the other animals.) The wolves have a foster mother, a young scientist from Luxemburg who still visits from time to time. The pack recognizes her as a welcome guest (she explained in an interview that if she were to stay with them long-term, she’d have to fight it out for her place in the hierarchy, and would definitely lose) and greet her enthusiastically when she returns.
The bald ibis disappeared from Europe over 300 years ago, and for a long time only a tiny colony of about 200 birds survived on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. It took to living in captivity well, and so the most ibises you’ll see these days are in zoos. However in the nineties a research colony of ibis was started in Austria, not with plans to begin wild colonies immediately but to study them, and gather information as to what a re-introduction plan would need to do, what habitats would be suitable for them today, and what dangers they would be facing. In 2003 the birds were taught, just like in “Fly Away Home”, to follow an ultra-light paraplane to winter grounds in Tuscany (due to bad weather they ended up being driven there most of the way that year.) I imagine the whole thing, despite the research, had a shot-in-the-dark aspect to it, since no ibises have been migrating in Europe for hundreds of years. However, since then some birds have returned and reproduced, and their offspring are on their own migration, at this writing near Venice.
The Northern Ibis Project in Austria shares scientific data and support from similar ibis study teams found in Morocco, Spain, Turkey and Syria. I think it’s important to remember all the scientific collaborations going on in the world, especially among countries otherwise painted as “difficult” in news reports.
The Aquarium tanks hold various local species of fish, newts, turtles, etc.
This is the “Englishman’s Grave”, and was here long before the zoo was built. English citizens began traveling for their health in the Industrial Age, and one place that already had the resources to offer them was Schloss Weiherburg in Innsbruck. The first long-term tourists, the Townshend family, spent their first winter here in 1834, and in 1839 they brought an ailing young friend along, who unfortunately died here the following February. For reasons unknown to me he was buried on the grounds, and when Schloss Weiherburg’s grounds were converted into the Alpenzoo in 1962, they kept the main traffic away from the grave, but you can still follow the sign to the Engländergrab and pay a visit.

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