Two important development projects to give a better insight into the world's flora and fauna are under way in Hungary's largest zoo, the one in the northeastern town of Nyíregyháza. The projects are mainly financed by the European Union from development funds.
“The world economic crisis was felt in the Zoo, both in the number of visitors and in the purchasing ability of the establishment. Still, the Sóstó Zoo is very popular, with 380,000-400,000 people visiting each year,” the Deputy Director of Hungary’s largest animal park, Dr. Endre Papp tells Diplomacy and Trade about recent years at the zoo located in Nyíregyháza, NE Hungary.
As he explains, the ‘Green Pyramid’, presenting the flora and fauna of the tropical jungle on three floors, as well as a pair of Komodo dragons, has become the zoo’s main attraction in the past three years. They have felt the benefits of these attractions but it is time to come up with new ideas. There are two constructions under way – both to be completed this fall.
One of them is to be called ‘Victoria House’, which is going to be similar to the Green Pyramid. “It will be a one-story building for animals from South America, Africa, Asia and Australia, with large decorative water areas and it will be the final location of our armored reptiles like the crocodiles, caimans, alligators as well as home to our breed birds like the hyacinth aras and the palm cockatoos. There will also be monkeys like marmosets and tamarins and we are preparing several surprises, as well,” he says.
The other building under construction is the South America house to be called the ‘World of Andes’ where “practically all our South American animals will be relocated. It will consist of a spectacular outer runway system, indoor placements for wintertime, for the breeding tapir pair, the anteaters, the capybara, the nandus and the vicuna group. Since the interior hanging bridge system has proven successful in the Green Pyramid, we’ll have one installed here, as well, so that animals can also be seen from above,” he adds.
These new projects are mainly financed by the European Union from development funds won by the zoo, itself and/or by the city for the development of the Sóstó area. “We endeavor to use EU funding to create things that will benefit the zoo and the city by attracting people here,” Endre Papp points out.
The Sóstó Zoo is home to some 500 species and more than 5,000 specimens of the world’s diverse fauna. Visitors have the opportunity to meet such exotic creatures as the white tiger, the African elephant, the Komodo dragon, the Indian rhinoceros, the polar bear, the sand tiger shark and the Western lowland gorilla.
Within the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Sóstó Zoo takes part in the breeding of very important, emblematic species like the polar bear, the wide-mouth rhino, the African elephant, the dwarf hippo and several types of bears, giraffes, cotton-top tamarins, Bornean orangutans, Bali mynahs and Amur tigers, among others. Also, it has large open space to present the fauna of the African savannah.
“In the framework of the program, we have recently sent two white wolves to an animal park in Scotland and the transport was filmed by a BBC crew, giving important international exposure to our zoo,” the Deputy Director concludes.