When I met the relaxed lions in Yorkshire Wildlife Park and red their stories I really felt like this park is trying to do a great job! Yorkshire Park saved 13 lions from ZOO in Romania, where they were kept in horrible conditions, leaving little to no space for any dignity. These poor animals were cramped in small cages, undernourished and had to sleep on concrete…
Long story short, Romanian ZOO obviously didn’t meet the EU`s legislation requirements and would have to shoot down the lions or find a new spot for them. Romanian director of the ZOO reached out for help and YWC decided to help. Thanks to huge campaign, lions were saved and transported to Doncaster where the Yorkshire Wildlife Park is. It was probably the biggest lion rescue action carried out in Europe. When I saw them during my visit to Park they were enjoying the warm sunny day, laying on grass, being relaxed, meat scattered around and they didn’t even care to eat it. They have a very big space for themselves and would have never ever lived to see such conditions in ZOO in Romania.
I loved the spaces open for visitors, where you could see lemurs, monkeys, wallabies and capybaras from a very close distance. Walking amongst animals or admiring them from long distance, but at least knowing that they have enough space to run around and feel free (I guess free enough as it is always a fenced area). YWP really cares to create large naturalistic areas for animals they keep. It reminded me of Wildlife Rescue Centre in Cambodia where you could feed monkeys and dears with bananas while walking around.
How is it working? Yorkshire Wildlife Park is home to Yorkshire Wildlife Foundation which promotes conservation and welfare of endangered animals, both in captive and in their natural habitats. Wildlife Foundations supports many different projects that include conservation projects for Leopards, Lions and Painted dogs. It is about combining educational, breeding and wildlife projects and creating a better life for animals that have already lost the chance for real free life.
I hate to think that when I am going to ZOO and paying for tickets I support the whole crazy circle of animals living in captivity for peoples amusement. Therefore I always try to read about the place and choose if I should go or not, if the animals are kept in decent conditions, if they are taking part in breeding programs, were rescued from poachers or illegal private owners. This year I was also in the Poznan ZOO, that helped to save bears and created amazing conditions for them by incorporating parts of forest. The ZOO pretty much created a bear asylum for bears that were kept in circus, one of them lived in skyscraper in Moscow and another one saved from circus lived in animal shelter for some time. So it is a good sign that ZOOs are moving towards more environment friendly, sustainable and pro-wildlife strategies. It is mainly the public pressure that forces ZOOs do to this, so let’s hope it will only get better and better!
Rock on YWC! It was a lovely day J