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Zoos in Cuba

Discussion in 'Cuba' started by Simon Hampel, 4 Aug 2008.

  1. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Administrator Staff Member

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    Obviously someone here has visited Cuba (newzooboy?), otherwise we wouldn't have any photos in the gallery from there!

    Someone care to give us a review?
     
  2. Newzooboy

    Newzooboy Well-Known Member

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    Would love to but I didn't actually go myself.....

    My girlfriend went on the trip with a friend and went to the zoo to take some photos for me (much to the delight (not) of her friend i might add!!). :D
     
  3. Miniaturezoo954

    Miniaturezoo954 Well-Known Member

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    Hi, i just found this post and thought it was very late to respond, but if there is still any interest in cuba, i could give you a very detailed review about its history, as well as species currently there, (i visited the country on 2006) so things change very quickly in Cuba, considering natural disasters and man made ones.:( anyways let me know if you are still interested?
    it would be a very long review since i have taken various notes in my last trip to my homecountry, it was in this zoo that i developed my passion.
    Danny
     
  4. okapikpr

    okapikpr Well-Known Member

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    Please do tell...
     
  5. Ituri

    Ituri Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely... I would love to hear about it.
     
  6. Miniaturezoo954

    Miniaturezoo954 Well-Known Member

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    PART 1 History and introduction

    El Jardin Zoologico de la Havana
    "Havana's Zoological Gardens"



    Note that most of this information i have translated from a book by a former Cuban President and the men in charge to develop the Zoo to its former glory. Doctor Ramon Grau San Martin.



    The zoological Gardens in Cuba's capital Havana, were created in 1938, and was the first in the country's history. It was created by the goverment and for the people, in what was considered Cuba's golden age, since the favor by the US towards Cuba at the time, was as its peak, Havana was considered the playground of rish americans. Its beaches, magestic hotels, and colonial arquitecture were already top in their respective categories, so it was only natural that a great zoological park was created. The site was picked, a large private farm in the city area, this was a tree farm, and a plants nursery, so they bought land and plants from the owners. A group of proffesors of Havana's University (Universidad de la Havana) were the ones in charge of developing the plans for the grounds and exihbitions. In a Text By Doctor Ramon Grau San Martin (7th and 15th president of Cuba) who was a avid supporter of the Zoo, the early years of the site were very slow in development, allways polical and finnancial unrest slowed or stopped plans for development. Once Doctor San Martin was elected to power as president of Cuba, he started a very agressive expansion of the zoo, that included: a lighted fountain, pathways for visitors, as well as numerous exihbits, of wish the most important were, a cuban shaped island for cuban crocodiles, the lions and bears pits and a very famous monkey island near the entrance that has housed a multitude of species thru the years, most recently Black spider monkey. The zoo achieved its pinnacle in 1947 when the entrance was renovated, and the Deer statue was erect. My Grandmother tells me about her visit during this time, a few years after ww2 had ended, and she remembers a gorgeous planted zoological park, that could very easily had passed for a botanical garden, there were flowers everywere and royal palm trees. Sadly that image changed much to her during the years, in a very negative way, as the revolution took power. The one thing that happened during the Cuban years of Fidel and is still happening is the addition of rare and endangered species, more about that in the second post.
     
  7. Miniaturezoo954

    Miniaturezoo954 Well-Known Member

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    The two most important events that Took place after 1959, when it comes to the zoological gardens, were a direct impact in their animal collection.

    Event One, during the late 80th's Cuba was involved in a war in the now Republic of Angola, as a direct responce to the us covert operations in this area, it was a pointless war for the Cubans, but Fidel's chance to test soviet weapons and military training in a neutral battlefield, against US weapons, and CIA training. Basically a goverments war that once again affected millions of people who had nothing to do with this, Fidel sent close to 40 000 soldiers with tanks, planes and ships to this conflict, and eventually secured Angola's independence, in a gesture of reward and generosity the people of Angola offered Cubans what was not really theirs to give (animals) lots of them, i was personally told by a former Zoo director of the newer zoo that was built in Cuba, that at the time the lost count of how many animals they really took, but some estimates were as high as 20 000 specimens, and as low as 5000, once again the damage that this events would create in the wildlife population of this part of the world were horrible even today, i have confirmation however that the initial herd of black rhinocerous was 118 specimens, months after arriving to the brand new safari park in Cuba, the Herd got sick, and close to 60 individuals died. In another horror story from this days, they initially thought the concept of open safari, was a real good one, and they took the predator and prey exihbit to a whole new concept, releasing 5 different groups of angolan lions, with antelopes, zebras etc, the result was a disaster, What were they expecting? Good thing that the zoo was not open to the public yet, and it saved little kids like myself at the time, the head trauma, of looking out the bus to this bloody scenes. That is that to say that i did not witness some crazy things in that zoo, i remember one trip with the school when the bus driver stopped, and told us to look out the window, how a dead cape buffalo was full of vultures, wow now that i think about it, after visiting hundreds of zoos in the civilized world, my god. Anyways more to come. i will take a break now.
     
  8. peregusna

    peregusna Member

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    Wow thank you @Miniaturezoo954. Lot's for information I would have never know even being cuban and living in the island.

    I would like to review all the Zoos in Cuba. Which we have four and a few Aquariums that have been built as foreign tourism attractions.
     
  9. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @ peregnusa - Do you think there are any rare animals in Cuban zoos that we would not have in zoos in the USA?
     
  10. peregusna

    peregusna Member

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    @ArizonaDocent I do not think that Cuba would have any rare animals in national zoos that you guys won't have here in the US, since they are endangered and most institutions are forbidden to import or export wildlife for each sides. We have a few endemic species that we could have in our Zoo: solenodon cubanus, priotelus temnurus (can't kept in captivity, but we haven't try it in a more sophisticated exhibit than a bird's cage)

    Cuba has an estrange political relationships with many political-isolated countries, that have donate through the years very exotic animals to Cuban politicians (like F. Castro) These countries are: Congo, Angola, South Africa, Yemen, Guyana, Suriname, Mozambique, Madagascar, North Korea? - Most of these specimens have been relocated in Cuban Zoos, but they haven't live very long (lot's of negligence) Sorry my english!