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Has anyone been to Lupa Zoo?

Discussion in 'United States' started by Zygodactyl, 22 Nov 2016.

  1. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Jun 2016
    Posts:
    151
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    So I'm wondering if anybody here has been to LupaZoo in Longmeadow, MA and has thoughts on A. the variety of their collection and B. the quality of animal care. I looked through these forums and did find one thread with someone casually commenting that it should be closed down, but that was five years ago.

    I went last year just before moving to Texas (I hadn't heard of it before then), but it seems like the town of Ludlow has been putting effort into improving the exhibits.

    When I went I was impressed by the variety of mammals they managed to keep in such a small space (though they had a kookaburra and multiple species of currasow, I was considerably less impressed by their collection of birds and reptiles). The fisher in particular impressed me since they're pretty infamous in rural New England, reportedly as a result of myths starting by fur trappers so people wouldn't object to the killing of such cute animals. But they also had a binturong, otters, owl monkeys, bushbabies, and tapirs none of which I'd have expected at a zoo of that size.

    At the same time, the size and/or design of some of the animal enclosures worried me. The one that bothered me the most was the central area of the primate building, wherein where kept marmosets and tamarins. I believe that the enclosure was about the size of the recommended minimum cage size for pet marmosets, but pet marmosets obviously spend a lot of time out of the cage. Of course it's possible that these monkeys spent a lot of time out of the cage after hours. I know that zoos often keep birds in larger enclosures than they need in order to allay concerns from visitors; it's possible that callatrichid monkeys need less space than other zoos generally give them.

    Also, while I noticed a great variety of enrichment activities for the Old World monkeys and the otters and the binturong, I couldn't find much obvious enrichment for the marmosets and the tamarins (there was stuff to climb and I think the tamarins had an obvious toy but not the marmosets) Perhaps they don't need it as much because they're not all that active and get most of their enrichment from grooming each other?

    The other thing that worried me is that the zoo sells generic "animal feed," which is supposedly safe to feed to any animal not marked with a "no feeding" sign. On one hand, I'm a huge fan of attempts to encourage more visitor interactions with animals on principle; I dislike the trend towards a greater and greater distance from visitors. On the other hand, I think that the food is really only suitable for ungulates, and the zoo should probably present it as such. Ungulates would come up and take it from your hands, while the bear and monkey cages were littered with the food the zoo sells which these omnivores had no interest in.

    Any rate, the point is that I left the Lupa Zoo with decidedly mixed feelings. It wasn't obviously terrible (like I said, animals which I know need enrichment seemed to have it) and I'm impressed that in such a small zoo there was such variety of animals, but it left me a bit uneasy, and I can't tell whether there are genuine animal welfare issues, or I'm just accustomed to zoos pandering to visitor expectations on what constitutes proper animal care.