Updated 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Uruguay’s transition towards eco parks

Uruguay’s transition from zoos to eco-parks began in 2011 when among others the Minas Zoo closed its doors and was transformed into a park for sports events entertainment shows, family picnics. Soon the Melo, Villa Dolores, Paysandú and Rocha zoos followed.

The newest to make this transition was the Ecilda Paullier Zoo in San José. It is relocated its last two animals in captivity in different reserves around the country. A deer was moved to Colonia Fernandez Crespo where he has a 1,600m2 area instead to the 5m2 he had in the zoo. A Baboon will now be living in the Rodolfo Tálice Reserve where he can interact with others from his species and have a larger space to live.

The only animals to stay in the zoo are birds, their living area is being redone and will include an artificial lake, announced Ecilda Paullier’s mayor. He says the main reason for the change was to improve the animal’s quality of life. Also neighbors had always shown their discontent as the animals were kept in cages and children were not taught anything about them anymore.

The Ecilda Paullier Zoo grew up to have more than 40 animals like Mountain cats, ducks, pheasants, coatis and capybaras. Even if some were relocated before this decision, others lived to die in this place.

In Uruguay, zoos first kept their Victorian style, which consisted in animal collections where the number of species was more important than each animal requirements. Through the XX century this changed and now the remaining zoos are turning into reserves or eco-parks while other decided to relocate their animals.

For example, in 2014 two lions from the Paysandú zoo and one from San José were sent to a feline sanctuary in the US and now two tigers from the Villa Dolores zoo in Montevideo and Tito, a lion from the San Carlos zoos will join them.

Also, the majority of animals relocated within the country end up in the Rodolfo Tálice Reserve. “I believe they’ve found a place where habitat conditions were the most adequate,” told local media the reserve’s Director Guillermo Ros. About 60 animals have arrived from around the country only in 2016.

The reserve was opened in 1992 and has more than 75 hectares. Today more than 1,200 from 120 different species live within its limits. They include pumas, jaguars, turkeys, capybaras, goats, etc.

With this the South American country says goodbye to old-style zoos and welcomes eco-parks and natural reserves.


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