Planning to include an armadillo in a drawing I’m working on I went in search of a live model at Artis, Amsterdam’s zoo and my neighbour (in the mornings we hear the Japanese macaques excitedly chattering over their breakfast, the midday trumpeting of an Asian elephant will always seem surreal, and as evening approaches the Californian sea lion often likes to engage in a bit of twilight barking).

this is a sunbather’s contented yawn, not a bark

Unfortunately (for me, but perhaps not for the armadillos*) Artis have none in residence. So, instead of a life-drawing session, I took in the beautiful grounds – lush and dripping with green (the positive result of lots of summer rain!), visited a few of my furry favourites, and purposefully avoided the big cats (*I’ve no doubt said it before, but I have mixed feelings about zoos and hate to see the larger beasts, feline or otherwise, pacing their enclosures. However I am also aware that, as humanity continues to destroy creatures and their habitats, many zoos are performing important educational and conservation work).

red ruffed lemurs enjoy the sunshine on their open island
(it’s great to be able to get up-close-and-personal with these beautiful animals – no fences, cages or glassed enclosures separate you from them)

a heap of gundis and a pair of fennec foxes bask in the (simulated) desert heat

green, so…

… very green

meerkats (or stokstaartjes in Dutch)
impossible not to grin like a crazy person in their energetic presence

and the red panda has a fancy new house!
he was curled up on a branch high above his plush new abode and had no interest in obliging this snap-happy fan – so, in lieu of the real thing, here are two ‘artists’ impressions’…

l. red panda, from the dunny endangered series 2009, by mr. shane jessup
r. red panda jungle munny, painted by me while waiting for other things to happen, way back in 2009