The day when we give special attention to big cats…
Five Years ago, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3rd of March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.
CITES is the biggest agreement on nature protection come to a cause of controlling the endangered species of wildlife and illegal trading. This day of the year receives a special attention to these magnificent creatures – the big cats.
Year by year the population of these species drops enormously. Caused by mostly human activities. Their populations are declining at a disturbing rate due to loss of habitat, conflicts with people, poaching and illegal trade.
We felt important joining this event, since the ZOO has the biggest collection of predators, and one of our main responsibilities is to raise awareness to our visitors about the importance of protecting these species. This day is the perfect opportunity to do so, and to show our visitors what we can do to protect and retain population of the big cats. Sostozoo is a member of European Zoo and Aquatics Society – also member of the European species protection program whereby we successfully bread some of these endangered species.
Currently we keep Sumatran, Siberian, Bengal Tigers, African and White Lions, African leopards, Persian Panthers, Jaguars, Snow Leopard and cheetahs. At the 35 hectares of oak woods some of these species successfully copulated.
On the World Wildlife Day our main focus were on Big Cats “ Predators under Threat “ whereby our visitors could observe the feedings and our team members were explaining about these rare animals.
The biggest fans of these animals were at the ZOO gate by opening so they could follow each event of the day. Those who arrived face painted as big cats had the opportunity to enter the park with a free of charge.
Roo in the Zoo
We have welcomed a new member of this special specie that we only have at the Zoo of Sosto – Hungary. Now the family expanded with its 8th member. With Kangaroos and other marsupials it is difficult to tell when are they giving birth since the fetus born at an undeveloped stage. It’s almost like an embryo with its 1-2 cm’s limbs and tail. Its eyes are still closed and have no hair at all. The fetus after birth develops in the cozy purse for two months which gives them protection and warmth. They stick their heads out after 150 days … to look around.
As the baby develops they spend more time outside of the purse and at the age of 240 days they leave it. They only return for breastfeeding for another 3-4 months.
The six months old baby kangaroo getting to know their environment each day a little bit better, and preparing to leave for good the comfort and cozy purse.
Since 2013’ our ZOO has the Australian themed runway with the biggest marsupial, accompanied with dingo’s, Benett Kangaroo’s and Emu’s.
Our very own colleague leads the role of breeding these species in a closed environment, the Red Kangaroo population since 2017. This roles expands in the whole of Europe.
The name of origin comes from ‘Macropus Rufus’ which means giant red foot. If you observe this animal it has an actual huge limb. Looking at the dietary requirements they eat mainly low nutritionist grass and leaf of shrubs.
Originally they live in Australia, the continent of lack of water. When there is enough nutrition they can chew on you can observe a group of 100 heads of them. The speed they can reach when they fueled up is up to 50 km/hr.
Interesting facts of the Red Kangaroo’s is that they can give birth up to three fetuses when they are in different stages of development. One is old enough to live outside of the purse while the other still in the purse and the third one can be still in the uterus.
If the mama Kangaroo loses a fetus for some reason, they don’t have to copulate again. Nature gave them a gift of having another embryo ready for development.
For faster growth the baby outside of the purse receives milk with higher content of fat from one breast, while the other still inside the purse receives milk with lower content of fat.
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.