improving animal welfare in small zoos and animal parks –

In smaller Swiss zoos, zoos and aviaries, the Swiss Animal Welfare Agreement has made positive strides towards more favorable conditions for animals, as is already happening in large Swiss zoos. This is an important finding from the latest PSA report on zoos. However, in almost all zoos there are forms of management that the PSA must criticize. It is to be commended that many zoos are rapidly addressing the shortcomings identified by the PSA. In this way, they contribute to the well-being of animals in Swiss zoos and animal parks.

In 2019 and 2020, the visits of the Swiss Animal Welfare Agency PSA were mainly devoted to large zoos and zoos, the state of which it assessed. In 2021, parks and small animal enclosures were included in the PSA zoos report. It currently covers sixty institutions. The PSA Zoo Report is designed to help visitors learn about the zoo in advance and make their choice. This encourages zoo officials to improve the conditions and hence the welfare of the animals. Fortunately, this is happening more and more often.

General faults

According to the PSA Zoo Report, many enclosures lag behind in facility structuring, animal-friendly layouts with comfort, viewing or lounging areas, and species-adapted activity equipment. The maintenance of reptiles often presents mediocre climatic and light conditions, which can only insufficiently satisfy the needs of various animal species. Uncontrolled and frequently observed feeding by visitors can also cause serious harm to animals. The problem of respectful keeping of birds outside the enclosures is not solved by surgical mutilation of the wings. In the eyes of the PSA, birds are deprived of their typical mode of movement solely to prevent them from flying away. Mutilated birds have a limited behavioral repertoire and often suffer long-term consequences as a result of such interference. Birds capable of flight should only be kept in large aviaries, otherwise they should be avoided.

Positive Examples

The baleen tit installation at the zoo in Kreuzlingen and the partridge cages at the Trottenweicher aviary in Zofingen are cited as exemplary in the PSA zoo’s report. In the Wildpark Heitern in Zofingen, red deer were positively observed. Also worth mentioning are the large facilities for llamas at the Weihermätteli Zoo in Liestal and for camels and camels at Kamelhof Olmerswil in Neukirch an der Thur.

Zoo PSA report improves animal welfare

In the 2020 zoo report, the Erlebniswelt Seeteufel zoo in Studen was assessed negatively, especially with regard to keeping reptiles. As a result, the outer enclosure for the Seychellois giant tortoises was quickly redesigned, and the climate and light conditions for the caimans and aquatic turtles inside were greatly improved. The Swiss Animal Welfare Service has had to criticize several forms of detention at Connie Land in Lipperswil. As a result, flamingos have been moved to better, more animal-friendly conditions. Poor parrot retention has been improved.

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