Our Zoo has become the Tourist Attraction of the Year, hundreds of baby animals were born, and our team achieved great professional success!
This year, the number one tourist attraction of Nyíregyháza had 470,000 visitors, and not only from all parts of the country, but also beyond the borders.
The unique collection is becoming more and more popular. This is also shown by the fact that we have won the Tourist Attraction of the Year title on a nationwide online voting. Our Zoo has won from among the 16 attractions selected by a professional jury, and it is a special pleasure for us that we have received almost half of the votes.
Our Zoo is called the “best zoo” as 5,000 animals live in natural enclosures in the 30 hectares of oak forest. Wherever possible, instead of the grids, only dry ditches or water ditches separate the visitors from the animals so that those who come here really feel like walking in a romantic landscape. The animals are having a great time in the spacious, natural enclosures and there are many offspring; a total of 226 baby animals were born this year.
This year's baby boom began with the birth of the white lion twins, and rare and special animals are born almost every week, mostly from breeding pairs that live in the Nyíregyháza Zoo under the EuropeanEndangered Species Programmes. Among other baby animals, Persian panthers, common brown lemurs, pygmy hippopotamus, as well as the first Grévy's zebra foals and a takin calf were born.
Our collection was further enriched with new species. Form this year, a real zoological specialty, the Vietnamese sika deer (Cervus nippon pseudaxis), which is extinct in nature, can be seen in our Zoo. The breeding team consisting of one stag and three hinds came from Czech and Polish zoos. The rare hoofed animal disappeared from nature in the 1960s due to the poachers and the destruction of their natural habitat. Today, it only lives in protected nature conservation areas and in zoos.
The zoo is the last shelter for many animals, where the professionals try to save and breed the nearly extinct animal species through international effort, and this year, many of our animals received a pair within the framework of European breeding programs.
Undoubtedly Fiete, the polar bear from Rostock, who arrived last year, has the largest German fan club. Fiete was placed to Nyíregyháza by the species conservation program, next to the older female polar bear, living here, for later breeding. Later this year, Fiete's young pair arrived from the Moscow Zoo. The 3-year-old female is very active and playful, and lives in a common enclosure with the other two polar bears, and splashes about in the glass-walled pool with her friends.
Also our group of Andean condors had new arrivals; these exceptionally rare birds can be watched only in our Zoo in Hungary. A new female and a huge male condor arrived from the Netherlands and joined the female birds that came from Germany in 2015. Since the Andean condor is a monogamous animal, the male will select his future pair from the three females. The caregivers of the rare species are constantly watching the behaviour of the birds, and the male of very good genetic value shares his aviary with a different female every month. As soon as he finds the most likable female, his bare, normally pale-coloured neck will be bright red, and his behaviour changes, he becomes more excited. The female birds without male pair will go to a new zoo under the EuropeanEndangered Species Programmes, however, the visitors can watch four individuals of this extremely rare species, exhibited in few zoos, until then.
The Nyíregyháza Zoo has been focusing more and more on the conservation of the nearly extinct animal species ex-situ, i.e. outside their natural habitats, during the recent period. Currently, 70 nearly extinct species are bred, and now the time has come to help the population of an endangered species in the wild (in-situ), in its natural habitat.
The choice fell on a very rare, recently discovered gibbon species, the northern buffed-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus annamensis), with only 800 specimen living in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. SóstóZoo is very pleased to join this work, which means extra tasks for the staff of specialists, and financial burden for the Zoo, however, it is the professional duty of one of the leading zoos of Hungary to participate in such tasks.
Our Zoo’s fundraising day attracted enormous interest and we have collected 20 truckloads of donations for 22 family aid organizations. On this distinguished day, anyone who bought a HUF 100 entry ticket could visit the Zoo if they brought some donation for the needy. This year, more than 10,000 people wished to donate, so everyone had some present under the Christmas tree.
The Zoo’s staff enjoy great international professional success, as they are not only members of the governing body of the European Association of Zoos and the European Association of Aquaria, but they are also represented in the Bear Advisory Committee of the European Zoos from this year, and from September this year, our Zoo’s head of zoological department coordinates the European pedigree book of world's largest marsupial, the red giant kangaroo.
The 470,000 visitors have participated in really meaningful recreation. And if they wished to relax after the long walk, they could visit our Zoo’s hotels, Hotel Ózoon at the edge of the Sóstó forest, which is the second zoo hotel in Hungary, or Hotel Dzsungel in the area of the Zoo. There will be a new hotel offer next year, as the construction of the Pangea Eco-center has begun. The 38-room multifunctional building will simultaneously serve as a venue for professional conferences and as one of the hotels with the best panorama in the town. In addition to the new 4-star hotel, a new snow leopard enclosure and a new visitor center are built to offer new attractions to the visitors during the next year's high season.