Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kyoto: Pass on the Zoo

After a long day of temples, we decided to take the girls to the Kyoto Municipal Zoo. They deserved a treat after all the walking and sightseeing we had subjected them to. The zoo wasn't far from the last temple we'd visited, and is the second largest zoo in Japan. The girls were really excited about going, and to be honest, we were looking forward to it as well. But, when we got there, we quickly realized that financially supporting the zoo was a big mistake.

I have seen reviews of the zoo, and most reviews say that it was a nice zoo, their kids had fun, they had great animals, etc. However, I have NO IDEA what those reviewers are talking about. The zoo was probably the worst one I've ever visited. I wanted to rescue all of the animals.

Look at these monkeys! Just a trickle of water in a dirty, grassless, concrete hole in the ground.
Most of the animals were housed in concrete areas, with no grass and little water. The mandrills in the picture below had scabs on their knuckles and bottoms from being on constant concrete. It was heartbreaking.


These giraffes had no grass, and the only trees were caged so that they couldn't eat the leaves. They were trying so hard to reach trees outside their enclosure.

This pool, and dirt yard, was the hippo "habitat."

This caged, dirt square was for the lions.

The tigers didn't fare much better.

It was strange to see so many people laughing and taking pictures in front of these animals. My husband and I just felt so heartbroken for all of them. So many of them looked lifeless, and many more looked simply crazy from being in a concrete pin all day.

The zoo is cheap - only 600 yen for adults and free for kids - but your money is only keeping this place running. I have a growing disdain for zoos and aquariums.... Yes, it's nice for my children to be able to see exotic animals up close, but not at the expense of these animals' freedom.

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