Japan's most progressive zoo is not in Tokyo or any other modern conurbation. It's in Asahikawa on the island of Hokkaido, a quiet northern city of 360,000. Since 1997, the Asahiyama Zoo, tel: (81-166) 361104, has renovated nearly half of its animal exhibits in delightfully creative ways, designed to benefit the inhabitants as much as the visitors. Zoo director Masao Kosuge installed a water tube for the spotted seals, gave the panthers rock ledges to nestle on, and lets the king penguins out of their enclosure for a daily (albeit supervised) stroll through the zoo grounds. Monkeys are no longer...
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