Blogs and News - St George's School For Girls, Edinburgh
Recently the Primary 6s went to the 'Cycle of Life' workshop in Edinburgh zoo. We learnt about different animal reproduction and their life cycles. When we got to the Education centre, we met Jess and Jonathan. Then we got put into 2 groups, 1 went with Jess and the other went with Jonathan. Our group first went to the penguin enclosure, where we learnt about how zoo keepers tell the gender of a penguin. They do a blood test, and then after that they put an arm band on them – left is female, and right is male. We also learnt that it only takes 1 day to lay an egg after mating and it only takes 3-6 hours for the egg to be fertilised. Jonathan said that baby chicks can't swim because of their fluffy coat but after puberty they get a coat that is suitable for swimming and catching fish. He also said that male Rockhoppers hop onto rocks to attract a mate. Rockhoppers start of like a normal penguin, but as they get older they start growing yellow eyebrows.
Next, we went to the rhino enclosure. There was only 1 male rhino called Bertus. He used to have a friend but after puberty (5-7 years old), rhinos will see each other as a threat. Both arrived at the zoo at the age of 2 and that's when they are friendly to each other. They normally mate in between 20-30 years old so Bertus's friend was lucky to mate so young. A calf (baby rhino) stays in the uterus for around 16 months and you can't breed 2 blood related rhino. 2 male rhinos will fight for a female. When a rhino's 2 years old it'll leave home, and find a mate (like Bertus and his friend). Jonathon also mentioned that there are only 2 white rhinos left in the whole entire world and they can't breed them because they're both females and they're relatives.
After that, we walked to the Gibbon cage, where we saw the Buff-Cheeked Gibbons. We learnt Buff-Cheeked Gibbons are one of the monkeys who change their colour a lot. The baby stays in its mother's womb for 3 months. First, they're born blonde so that they can camouflage with their mother. When they reach puberty they'll all turn black, and then after puberty only the females turn blonde again to protect their baby. When an adult male has got a family, they all sing a song every morning that lasts up to 45 minutes and can travel 43 kilometres. When their son wants their own family, he sings a different song to attract a female.
Then we went into the Monkey House and saw the drill-1 male, 1 female. The male has got red bits on his chin and his bottom to attract females and to show power. The male's also a little bit bigger than the females. The female's bottom swells up when ready to mate. Normally, males fight for a female 1 surrenders.
Later, we went back to the Education Centre where we learnt about how to tell the gender of animals using visual displays. We also learnt about lions and elephants and how they're born. We watched a clip of a baby elephant being born. Elephants surround the female while she's giving birth, so any predators don't eat or kill the baby. Baby elephants are born in an amniotic sac, they need to get out of it as soon as possible because it cannot breathe in the sac. Elephant need to keep up with the herd, so they learn to walk within a few hours after they're born.
Finally, we went on a tour of the zoo in our group with a teacher (Mrs. May). We saw both pandas – Sweetie and Sunshine. We walked through the Ring-tailed lemur enclosure, but they're all in the corner where we couldn't see them. Next, we went to see the apes and monkeys, all of them were climbing in the tree and we saw a baby chimpanzee! At 2pm, there's a Penguin Parade but only 4 penguins came out. After that, we played in the Playpark, there were some nice monkey bars and a fireman pole.
We think the whole of Primary 6 enjoyed this trip to Edinburgh Zoo. We especially enjoyed the Penguin Parade, it's cool! We're all looking forward to the next trip!
Sofia and Christine