Moscow zoo is a very quiet place in winter. Most animals prefer to stay in their dens indoors, leaving rows after rows of empty outdoors enclosures. Most of the activity in winter is centered around the fresh water ponds where some spots are protected from freezing by warm warter pumped through specially constructed pumps. Water birds from the entire city of Moscow flock to these ponds in winter. The most numerous were Ruddy Shelduck or Oгaрь (Tadorna ferruginea), endangered Grey goose (Anser anser), Barnacle Goose or Белощекая казарка (Branta leucopsis) and a few Common Shelducks or Пеганка (Tandorna tandorna).
Apart from waterbirds, there were a few common ‘city’ birds around the zoo: Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus), Big tit (Parus major), Western jackdaw (Corvus monedula), and Hooded crow (Corvus cornix).
Of the few mammals that did brave the cold the most magnificent was the Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica). He walked around in deep snow, checking his domain and then retreated slowly when he heard that his food was delivered in the indoors enclosure.
Snow leopard (Panthera pardus lybica) came out for a quick sniff and a breath of fresh cold air. Herbivores seemed to be a bit more tolerant of the cold and spent most of the day outdoors.
The two most interesting cats that I came to see: Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) and Manul (Otocolobus manul) did not come out outside even once. In fact, manul enclosure was completely closed for restoration.