The usual interest in the Nyíregyháza Zoo has almost completely returned to the level before the coronavirus epidemic, as about 550,000 people visited the park this year in NE Hungary, almost 200,000 of whom were foreigners.
The zoo's director, László Gajdos said in an interview with the state news agency MTI that the park's visitors were mainly Slovaks and Romanians, but there were also visitors from Western Europe, and this year Ukrainian children and refugees were welcomed free of charge.
The zoo celebrated the 25th anniversary of its foundation this year. 250 animals were born during the anniversary year, contributing to the survival of special species such as the maned anteater, the pygmy antelope, the silver hornbill, the Arctic wolf and the cougar.
László Gajdos pointed out that this is the fourth time that an African elephant has been born in the park and the second time that the Nyíregyháza breeding family of the Indian armored rhinoceros, one of the most endangered species, has given birth to an offspring. Many new animals have arrived in the park, including cheetahs, Chinese leopards, keas and zebra sharks.
This year, four new water blocks were opened, the warthog enclosure was completed and the big cat exhibit was expanded. They continued their campaign to help the disabled, organized a day for pensioners and an afternoon for civil servants, the director added.
In recognition of the European zoo profession, the zoo's Deputy Director of Zoology, Endre Papp, was elected President of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) and Nyíregyháza Zoo was voted Europe's Best Zoo in the under half a million visitors category for the third time this year.
“The park's staff hope to surpass this level of attendance on a sustained basis and soon compete among zoos with one million visitors, which will be well supported by the almost HUF 14 billion investment to create an interactive animal exhibit that will evoke the icy world of the Earth," László Gajdos said.
More than 3,000 children have taken part in some kind of educational program at the zoo this year, and a number of native species have been cared for at the rescue center. Two animals who fled the war in Ukraine have found a permanent home in Nyíregyháza Zoo, while Mázli [Lucky], the female lion and Katja, the female marmoset have since started families.