Sushi, an endangered shoebill stork excited me the most during the behind scenes tour at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. My designated zoo guide advised me to bow and shake my head as soon as the lovely bird came closer. I was awed by the respect Sushi demanded and as soon as he felt comfortable in my presence he reciprocated by bowing his head as well. At one point he nearly bit off a few strands of my hair with his shoe shaped beak that has extremely sharp edges. These lovely birds can weigh as much as 12 pounds and grow to a height of about 3.5-5ft. They can also spend a maximum of 35 years in captivity.

Feeding the Giraffes was another exciting activity for me. I am a tall lady (about 5ft 11 inches tall) but felt dwarfed in their presence. As soon as the keeper opened the gate three of the giraffes started to gracefully walk towards us. I watched as their strong, long and closely set legs pushed them forward. I was slightly frightened as soon as they came closer to me, but immediately relaxed as I watched them aggressively grab small pieces of carrots with their mouths from my hands. I was amazed by the length of their tongues and the amount of saliva that was dripping out of their mouths into my hands as soon as I walked out of their enclosure. Giraffes spend most of their lives standing up; they even sleep and give birth while standing up.

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