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Educational zoos receive good marks

Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) is generally satisfied with animal parks and zoos in Switzerland, although some animals still don’t have adequate space.

In its latest report, the organisation noted an “upwards trend” in zoo animal care, picking out for particular praise large zoos and wild parks which end up being education centres for the protection of species.

Successful models included the elephant enclosure and tropical wetland at Zurich Zoo, the ape house at Basel Zoo, the Dählhölzli animal park in Bern and the children’s zoo in Rapperswil.

But poor marks were given to the Hotel Restaurant Grimselback in canton Valais and the Connyland dolphinarium in Thurgau “where ignorance about animals’ specific requirements is joined by a fundamental misunderstanding of the aim of zoos, using animals as crowd pullers”.

SAP also criticised otherwise praiseworthy institutions where animal care “harked back to the beginning of the last century”: tiny owleries, bleak wolf or bear enclosures and ape cages that are legal but unsuitable for the species.

SAP, the largest organisation of its kind in Switzerland, was founded in 1861. In 2010, its 70 sections across the country looked after 27,463 animals, 13 per cent more than the previous year. and agencies

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