Green Pyramid: the flora, fauna and the culture of Indonesia - that is one of the main attractions in the Sóstó Zoo in Nyíregyháza that the June issue - dealing with the countries of the ASEAN region - of Diplomacy and Trade.
The animal park in Nyíregyháza, northeastern Hungary, established three decades ago, covers some 30 hectares and has a staff of 70-80 people. “In the past five years, a project supported by the European Union helped us to achieve an international level and – with regard to the collection of animals and the show elements – we actually surpass the Budapest Zoo,” deputy director Dr. Endre Papp tells Diplomacy and Trade.
The two Hungarian zoos have different roles. “In Nyíregyháza, we have a spacious environment for the animals that makes it possible to show large, emblematic, ‘exciting’ species whose acquisition has been facilitated by extensive and fruitful international relations. In a unique manner, not only in Hungary but in Europe, as well, we exhibit both African and Asian elephant and rhino species, a wide scale of primate and large felid species and the largest bear collection in an attractive naturalistic environment,” he adds.
The real peculiarity that makes the Sóstó Zoo unique in Hungary and rare in Europe is the pair of Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) on display in the ‘Green Pyramid’ that depicts life in the jungles of Indonesia.
As Endre Papp explains, the idea of the Green Pyramid was born when the director of the zoo, László Gajdos had an expedition to Indonesia, including the island of Komodo. Excellent relations with the zoo of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, originated from that visit. The pair of large lizards from Komodo that can be seen in Hungary is Indonesian owned.
This is the most protected species in Indonesia and it can only be taken abroad through intergovernmental agreement and with the consent of the President of Indonesia. The management of the Sóstó Zoo took the chance when the then President of the Republic of Hungary, László Sólyom visited Indonesia in May 2008 and his program of developing bilateral relations eventually included an agreement with the Indonesian President that made it possible for the Komodo dragons to arrive in Hungary in February 2010.
Since then, the team of Sóstó Zoo, in collaboration with the colleagues of Ragunan Zoo, have made promising efforts in the development of the dragon’s husbandry and breeding. “It is a difficult challenge to achieve the breeding of Komodo dragons in captive circumstances, because specific climatic environment, extensively increasing motion demand and aggressive courtship behavior must be continuously monitored and controlled over an eight-month period from the courting to the hatching of the dragon eggs,” Endre Papp points out.
The efforts of the breeding management team bore fruit in the two clutches laid by the twelve-year-old female, Indri. Those eggs were infertile, however, experts say it is a promising achievement, and the team is making new attempts for the successful breeding of the Dragon couple living in Sóstó.
The lizards were placed in a large building, the ‘Green Pyramid’, a multi-storey house that is dedicated to displaying the flora, fauna and culture of Indonesia within the animal park in a complex system, which is unique in Europe. A tropical rainforest, with its own peculiar climate, is situated in the center of the park, and the units for the different animals, including the orangutans, the Komodo dragons, Asian elephants, rhinoceros, and others have their own special climates, respectively.
The Sóstó Zoo
The zoo is situated five kms from the town of Nyíregyháza, in the holiday resort of Sóstó, where the spa, the village museum and the forest offer various entertainment facilities for the visitors. The zoo is placed deep in a forest in an untouched environment. In the 35-hectare area, so-called “continents” welcome the visitors as if they could walk around the world and observe how the animals live in the different parts of the world.
The latest additions and pride of the Zoo are the Green Pyramid and the Ocenarium, which present the flora and fauna of the Indonesian archipelago on a total of 4,000 square meters covering three levels. The animals of the Green Pyramid include a six-member orangutan family, and a Komodo dragon couple, which are considered to be one of the most dangerous predator species in the world and are rarely seen in European zoos.
The largest, half-million-liter tank of the Ocenarium is home for six sharks and hundreds of other marine animals and plants, whose well-being are ensured by salt water made with over 20 tons of sea salt.
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