I really wish I hadn't.

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
Trip End Apr 09, 2014

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What I did
Colombo Zoo

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, February 16, 2014

Next day was a Sunday, so probably not the smartest day to go to the zoo!  As a general principle I do not like zoos.  I have had a couple of unpleasant visits to Asian zoos where concepts of animal husbandry seem much different to ours albeit that I am not particularly convinced about many European establishments.  Again I have written an extensive piece on VT and here it is.  I still don't like zoos!

"I should preface this tip by saying that I love Asia and just about everything about it. It is the continent I have travelled most extensively in and, whilst I hope to visit other continents, I remain drawn here. I should also say that I do not particularly like zoos as I am inherently against the idea of wild animals being caged, often in conditions that are far less than their requirements. To me, the conceptof a wild creature pacing a cage with no means of living any sort of natural life, is completely repugnant.

I remember a visit to a zoo in Darjeeling (India) many years ago which actually left me quite traumatized. Yes, I have been to London Zoo which is apparently one of the better examples worldwide but I am still unsure. I know that many international zoos run very important breeding programmes, maintaining species that find it no longer viable to exist in the modern world and they do a wonderful job. I'm still not sure.

Anyway, I had heard of the Zoo in Colombo and it was in walking distance from where I was
staying in Wellewatta. OK, I say walking distance although this is my walking distance and I do like to walk a fair bit evn in the blazing heat of a Sri Lankan midday. The traveller may want to consider alternative options.

When I eventually arrived at the place (thereis no signage, I was using a map) the sign for admission price was extremely explicit. I have always known that there was a "locals price"
and a "tourist price" which is not a problem at all but the discrepancy here was very marked, somewhere in the order of five times.

The lovely lady at the ticket booth took my very inflated tourist rupee andso I entered. I have to say here that signage is very good and if you follow the numbered signs, you will not miss anything. Basically, start by going to your left and just keep looking for waymarks, you'll be OK. They number up to 60, I believe.

I began my tour in the aquarium which was interesting although rather busy. Being a Sunday afternoon, the place was very full. I suggest the traveller visits (if he / she wishes to) on a weekday.

I am not going to go into every beast I saw here but suffice it to say that I still do not like zoos. In fairness, there were many signs about the place indicating that the Government is expending a lot of money to improve and even expand the place. My guidebook mentioned that this zoo had been started by a foreigner who wanted to house his animals when his circus was no longer financially successful. Seemed like nothing had changed much.

Frankly, the image of this place that I shall carry with me is one of two beautiful snow leopards doing a sort of choreographed pas de deux in a tiny, bare cage. I am so glad I got to see these most beautiful and hugely endangered beasts as I had never seen them before and possibly never will again but this was obviously a result of too close confinement in poor conditions. The poor animals were obviously out of their minds. There were many more examples and they were not attractive.

I spent a few hours there and saw some wonderful animals that I have little chance of seeing in the wild but I left feeling terribly sad somehow and that is not a normal emotionfor me in this most wonderful country. I shall leave it up to the reader to consider this and whether or not they want to visit should they ever visit Colombo. I have deliberately left out about half of what I could tell you and none of it is complimentary. If I return here, as I dearly hope to do, this Zoo will not be on my list of things to do.

I really do not want to be negative but I think that these are not the best conditions to keep what is obviously a wonderful collection of animals in."

It did rather depress me.
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bajatrish on

believe me, the zoo has been greatly improved from years ago!! no, I know you can hardly believe that, but it is true. unfortunately, I have been here too many times, as I end up taking my Lanka kids there, as of course, it is probably the only zoo they will ever see and otherwise cannot afford to go, even at the local prices.

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