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.
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.
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.
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.
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…