Limassol Zoo

Lion

You probably won’t believe me, but it is true – today I visited Limassol Zoo for the first time. Yes, after living in the city for almost 10 years and not being terribly busy with other things, I finally found those 30 minutes to spend.

As much as I want to be positive on all things and just share the light and comfort of my life with everything, this post is going to be a depressive rant full of negative. If you want to skip it, please, by all means do so. I’ll just tell you that I didn’t like the Zoo and will probably never go back. Oh, that was a lie. I will have to go there when my son will be old enough to be educated about animal abuse.

On the other hand, if you are not scared of few dark details, whining, complaining and want to know all the truth, than read on.

Album location: /photos/2005/2005-06-25_Limassol_Zoo/

There are three different sides from which I looked at Limassol Zoo today – entertainment, education, and photography. All three sucked. Let me take these in turns though.

Entertainment.

Drinking birdIf you are asking yourself what can be so entertaining in the Zoo, I can help you with an answer. Lots of things actually.

Watching animals for one. Of course, watching animals that perform some activities like play, eat, or bath is much more fun that spending your time waiting for a poor tired beast to move its claw.

Feeding animals is another. I understand that each and every animal has its own diet and food to eat and that visitors, in their majority, don’t have the knowledge or the food to do feed animals properly. This can easily be solved with packaged food for sale nearby the animals. I’ve seen it done before, but not today.

Engaging with animals is yet another. Horses has been exploited for years to pull the carriages with people. Snakes, monkeys, parrots were used as hand pets for candy pictures since the beginning of photography. Animals performing tricks spanned a whole new industry of circus.

You get the picture.

Now, what was entertaining in Limassol Zoo? Nothing. Animals looked tired and seak. Most of them were hot probably, although it was way too early for the day pick, when I walked in the Zoo around 9:30 in the morning. Feeding of all animals and birds was strictly prohibitted. And, as you might have already guessed, not tricks or pony rides.

All entertainment I could have was from walking around and looking into the cages. That’s it.

Education.

Attention !! BiteEducational side was slightly better than the entertainment, but sucked anyway.

There was an A4 paper near most of the cages with description of the species inside. The information printed on the paper included the Latin name of the species, life expectancy, food description, reproduction and location in the wild. I usually like it when they keep it short, but not this time. The most important piece of information was missing – the English name of the species. So, if I, say, want to annotate my pictures from today’s trip, I would either have to use names like Strauses Normalius Australius, or to look th species up in some encyclopedia and write the word that you would naturally understand.

Also, there were no materials for sale. No booklets, no video tapes, no DVDs. Nothing. Not even a t-shirt with a picture of the animal or a logo of the Zoo.

And, of course, there were no guides that would take a group of people and tell them few interesting stories about each animal. Or about the Zoo. Or about anything else. Just go walk on your own.

Photography.

Locked beastIf there would be any educational or entertainment value to today’s trip, I wouldn’t have noticed the photography, but since I had nothing better to do, I tried to shoot a few pictures. That wasn’t as easy as I tough it would be.

The biggest problem was with the cages. All cages are made from very thick wires. Cell sizes depend on the animal size inside the cage, as usual, but they never got too big. For some small pets, like rabbits and some rat-kind it was alsmost impossible to see through the cage to the inside. Also, cages were not immediately close to the walk path, but were separated with another fence. Even with a good zoom lens (I used 75-300 on my Digital Rebel) I couldn’t get close enough. And this lens might be good enough for wild life photography!

The second big problem was the contrast. The sun was very bright and most of the animals were hiding in the shadows. Harsh shadows. It was difficult to see them with the own eyes. They actually came out much more visible on the pictures, than what I saw in reallity.

Thirdly, no program of activities available. Of course, coming to the Zoo when its +35C outside and expect animals running around and playing happily is insane. But there were no hints to those who would like to see the feeding of lions for example. What time does it happen? Noone knew. Probably, even the lions themselves.

Conclusion.

CamelToday’s trip was a failure. The Zoo failed to provide any entertainment, educational, or photographic value. Additionally, the view of the animals was very depressing and sad. None of them looked happy or even healthy. Except, maybe, for the camel who looked like he didn’t care much about the heat or the food or the spectators. It had its own thoughts.

I won’t be visiting the Zoo any time soon and I won’t recommend it to anyone. I will also vote for any reorganization that might be on the way. I might even donate money. And I might even NOT complain to the European’s Commette for Animals’ Rights.

But something needs to be done…

10 thoughts on “Limassol Zoo”


  1. Hmm pretty deplorable, but I wouldn’t agree the trip was a failure, I think this blog entry was pretty educational by itself and if I were you, I might consider sending out a link to it to the concerned authorities.

    when done right it is not that obvious

    To the visitor maybe, but not to the animals ;-) but anyway, the idea of a zoo in general is quite debatable, I don’t think there’s any clear answer esp when we think about preserving endangered species or the ever increasing expansion of cities into the animal habitats. [I had written something on it long before I started my blog, now I’m reminded of it I’ll try to dig it up and post it] Though there are exceptions, plenty of zoos in India are no better :-(

    I think given the constraints the pictures are pretty good, I liked the signboard one :-)


  2. Sanjay,

    You are right, the trip wasn’t a failure per se. Even negative experience should be valued. I was trying to say that I would prefer to have it totally different though. :) I hope that this post will save some time to someone…

    On the argument of zoos in general, I think that keeping animals locked in cages is a terrible thing to do. On the other hand, some of the animals are so rare that the majority of the people don’t have a chance of seeing them except for in the zoo.

    I think that keeping a huge Indian tiger in the 5x5 meter cage is a crime against nature in general and that tiger in particular. But I would like to be able to show a real Indian tiger to my growing up son. How can I do so without harming a tiger? I don’t know exactly. The approach of National Parks that is so widely used in USA looks appealing to me. Animals there have huge territories available and they are kept as close to natural conditions as possible. Visitors drive through the park in environmnt safe car and enjoy the view of the animals. I think this approach is way better than the regular zoo, and it also provides the visitors with a greater experience than a regular zoo or a television box with National Geographic on the screen.

    About the pictures -- thanks for you comment. :) Actually, pictures came out much better than what I saw in the zoo. Some of them are even enjoyable. :)


  3. I am am the head curator of carnivores at Jerusalem zoo a new zoo no bars huge spaces for the animals many without bars. We have many modern ideas on education and the welfare of our captive animals. I will be visiting Limassol mid November and will make a point of visting the zoo. I was British trained working in many zoos and giving advice to many more. I read your blog and I will see for myself and see what can be done

    Dennis
    Jerusalem zoo


    1. Thanks for the update. I saw that it’s being reconstructed, but it’s nice to have details.

      I spoke to one of the employees of the zoo just before the reconstructions started and she told me that they will be sending the wild animals away. They will keep only goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, and such. Because there is simply not enough space to keep wild cats, monkeys, and the like.

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