Friday, April 19, 2013

Asian Eyes' Korea - Lion + Tiger = Liger

               Day 6, 22/Nov/2012, 11.00 am: We were at Yongin Everland, South Korea. When we reached Safari World, we headed straight to the main attraction - Safari World to see the vast collection of tigers, lions, bears and ligers too. Ligers? What is that? Liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a tigress. Thus, it has parents from the same genus but of different species. It is distinct from the similar hybrid of tiglon, where the father is a tiger and the mother is a lioness. Ligers enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Ligers exist only in captivity because the habitats of its parental species do not overlap in the wild. Historically, when the Asiatic Lion was prolific, the territories of lions and tigers did overlap and there are legends of ligers existing in the wild. Notably, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species. 
A pair of ligers in 
Safari World, Everland
         Kent went ahead of us to board Safari World bus for safari ride. A safari ride is like a zoo visit but instead of animals in enclosure, it is human that is enclosed. As we walked through a passageway to board our safari bus, we passed by an ice cream store. The young man who managed the stall did a gesture with both his hands upward and rotating all his 10 fingers to and fro. To me it seem he was indicating "no more" gesture. I was puzzled and asked him "no more ice cream", and at the same time returning to him the same gesture with my hands. His forehead wrinkled up, now was his turn to be puzzled as he does not understand English. He spoke something in Korean and flashed a big smile and did more rotations with his hands. Later when we had boarded the safari bus, Kent told us that that hand's gesture was a welcoming gesture, unique only to Everland, Korea. Ah, silly me! 
         At the bus we were not sure if the left side or the right side have better viewing, but the driver assured us that the bus will stop for a while to let us see the exhibits up close. We saw pride of African lions, Himalayan tigers, white Siberian tiger and also the lone liger. This liger was bigger than the lions and tigers and was prancing around its cage. It had faint tiger stripe against it's lion fur and was kept in a solidarity cell to protect other animal from its sheer size and aggressiveness. The setback for ligers - all of them are not able to produce offspring, meaning a pair of ligers, male and female, would not be able to breed little ligers on its own. As promise the safari bus stopped at every group of animals who are resting. We spend some 30 minutes in the big cats' enclosure before proceed to the next enclosure - the bears. 
          The safari had many brown bears as well as half moon bears - Korea national bear. The brown bears were huge and would easily towers over 9 feet when standing on its 2 hind legs. They were accustomed to visitors and would approach a safari bus that stopped as experience told them they will gets food when a bus stopped. Our safari bus driver told us there was one very special bear that had a talent. Our driver drove on and stopped the bus near a black brownish bear. The bear got up on its hind leg and then started to dance and twirl to our excitement. The driver informed Kent that the bear used to be a circus bear and had been trained to dance by its keeper. I have never seen a dancing bear before, only read about it in book and newspaper.
          This particular visit to Safari World was the highlight of our trip to Everland. We spend close to an hour here and they were well worth the visit. Here are some of the pictures I took at Everland Safari World:

Location: Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Coordinates: 37.295632°N 127.203999°E
At the entrance of Safari World.

We regrouped and Kent briefed us the do and don't when o the safari bus prior to safari ride.
Two wooden full size giraffes guarded the entrance to Zootopia, welcomed us. 
Petting zoo close by but we did not get a chance to enter and pet some of the 'pets' there.
Along the passage way to board our safari bus decorated by ornamental from Africa to make one feels like one was in Africa itself.
Initially I though this guy way gesturing "no more ice cream". In fact we was welcoming us.
Signboard showing how many of each animals in Safari World. Only 1 liger was around that day.
A female attendant all bundled up due to the cold, told us to keep our hand in the safari bus. Yeah, right.
Kent pointed out the tigers. Everyone craned their neck to see what he was pointing at.
A pride of lions resting and watching the next meal goes by - us!
White tigers, a type of mutant Bengal tiger, basking on a rock in the morning sun.
A majestic Bengal tiger purring at us on seeing our safari bus approaching.
The lone liger at Safari World, prancing about in it's cage. It had stripe on its legs and it was big.
Big M stole a moment to snap a picture with the lone liger.
This brown bear easily towers over 9 feet high when standing on its 2 hind legs.
When bears were on all 4 legs, they does not look big. They may appears sluggish but beware, they can out run human anytime. By the way their diet do consist of meat too if they can lay their paw on.
Half moon bear playing hide and see. It had a distinctive white half moon symbol across it's chest.
The dancing and twirling bear from Safari World, Everland, Korea. The more it dance the more foods it gets.
At the end of the ride, it was wallet opening time.  
At safari gift center, but we came out empty handed.   

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