Zoo to Be Europe’s Biggest

Zoo to Be Europe’s Biggest

Published: August 1, 2012 (Issue # 1720)

The new St. Petersburg zoo, whose construction is to begin next year, will be the biggest zoo in Europe.

The zoo, which will be made up of six islands inhabited by animals from different continents, is due to open in stages with its first islands (Eurasia and Southeast Asia) opening in 2015-2016, the press service of Intarsia, the construction company in charge of the project, said last week, Interfax reported.

Alexander Mironov, Intarsia’s chief architect, said that the project consists not only of the display areas where the animals will live, but also of a petting zoo, horse stables and a zoo theater where animal shows will take place.

However, former Leningrad Zoo director Ivan Korneyev, who is a member of the project’s working group, said the zoo theater could encounter problems.

“There is a certain ethical problem concerning the zoo theater because, according to the European Code, zoo animals can be used for educational purposes only and should not be made to perform acts that are not part of their natural behavior. This makes the idea of an animal theater questionable,” Korneyev said.

Work on the zoo’s infrastructure could begin as soon as in 2013, Mironov said. This year, 562 million rubles ($17.5 million) are planned to be spent on the project; last year 358 million rubles ($11.1 million) was spent.

The new zoo territory will cover 288 hectares, 200 of which will be park area that people can stroll around. It will be the biggest zoo in Russia and Europe.

Mironov said that as polar bears are the symbol of the Leningrad Zoo, they will receive special treatment at the new zoo and their enclosure will be significantly larger than those of other such bears in other zoos around the world.

The architects behind the zoo project decided to separate the animals from visitors by using more natural obstacles such as mounds of earth, ditches and other barriers instead of the traditional cages. The zoo will house approximately 310 different kinds of animals, many of which will be large-sized species.

The zoo is planned to be built near the Yuntolovo nature reserve and is based on a design created by Beckmann-N’Thepe, a French architectural company.

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