Monday, July 23, 2012

Jardim Botânico

Sunday we went to Jardim Botânico, which is incredibly beautiful.  Rosa insisted it is the most beautiful in the world, but I've been to some incredible botanical gardens and I'm not ready to make that claim.  It was definitely in the top five.

Founded by John VI of Portugal in 1808, it was opened to the public in 1822.  Like many botanical gardens, it was originally designed to acclimatise spices to Brazil, namely nutmeg, pepper,  and cinnamon (a desire I can understand).  It now houses some 6,500 species and covers 140 hectares. There are 900 varieties of palm tree alone;  the 750 meter Avenue of Royal Palms houses 134 palms that all descend from a single tree, the Palma Mater.  Only 40% of the park is cultivated, the rest is the Atlantic Forest. The park is protected by the Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional and was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1992. 

There are 140 species of bird in the park.  My highlight (and a life bird, if I kept a list) was many, many, many sightings (but no good photograph to show for it) of the channel-billed toucan.  And the non-human, primate population was also very visible due to visitors once again feeding them.  I saw more tufted-eared marmosets and some rather small howler monkeys.  An attendant actually came by and stopped guests from feeding the howlers, and he mentioned there are much larger ones who choose to stay away from the visitors.

JOL_9753

JOL_9761

JOL_9745

The orchid room was really beautiful...

JOL_9678

JOL_9669

JOL_9666

JOL_9664

JOL_9656

"Yes, I'm eating cookies, which I shouldn't have. Now give me more. If you don't I might bite you," said the howler monkey below.

JOL_9738

JOL_9712

"This is what I should be eating. And because I don't expect you to feed me, I won't bite you." This has been a public service announcement.

JOL_9719

JOL_9725

JOL_9683

Wishes for the future from visitors to a special exhibit for Rio+20:

JOL_9607

JOL_9600

Avenue of Royal Palms...

JOL_9766

JOL_9845

The only quasi-nice photos of the toucans (I took hundreds!). They stayed way up in the tree tops and my 300 mm is woefully inadequate.

JOL_9816

JOL_9838

JOL_9801

Cropped to give you a better view:

JOL_9804

JOL_9779

JOL_9774