We didn’t plan to go to the zoo before we started this journey. We didn’t even know there was a zoo. On the day of our arrival in Belfast we drove by a sign that advertised it. Props to whoever hung it there. The tourist attraction worked on us. We went to the zoo. What you see on the left is a little greenhouse located there. (Finally adequate temperatures!)
Saturday was actually meant to be our zoo-day, but the weather wasn’t having any of it. Instead we went to the Belfast City Hall on Saturday. What might be even more of a highlight was the big demonstration in front of it. I tried to understand the speeches they were giving, but it was hard to gather anything from it. Hence I observed the people and found some phrases on flags and on shirts I could work with. „Sinn Féin“ and „An Dream Dearg“. Google told me what I needed to know. Sinn Féin – an Irish republican political party standing for a united Ireland. Dream Dearg (Gaelic) – an Irish campaign group avowing to maintain their language. The latter seemed to be the main purpose of the gathering. The news agencies in Ireland also covered this demonstration.
Sunday was the more fun day. We met up at a bus stop in the centre and picked up two of our colleagues later on. In order to get to the zoo we had to go uphill. In order to move forward in the zoo we also had to go uphill. Everything in front of us was uphill. You might understand why the alternative title for this article was „Uphill“. But that would not have done justice to the animals in the zoo. We saw giraffes (my personal favourite), elephants, penguins, sea lions, normal lion, monkeys in every shape and form and many other smaller animals. We also learned a few things on this day: Dominik is as tall as an ostrich and even elephants worry about skin care.
I want to end this article on a more serious note. As fun as the zoo was, there were some moments in which I felt a little upset. Upset because of the conditions some animals had to live in. Especially the compounds for the monkeys seemed to be very small. That’s just how I personally felt, I don’t want to judge whether they were really too small. I don’t want to assert that the animals are being mistreated. How would I know what the animals themselves feel? I am obviously not opposing the general idea of a zoo. I do believe it is possible to treat animals fairly in zoos. And that could very well be the case in Belfast. The message I want to convey is, that we should all remember to treat animals right. All the more if we put them into zoos. We then have a responsibility to uphold.