Barcelona Photoblog: Barcelona Zoo: I Wanna Go Home

July 03, 2006

Barcelona Zoo: I Wanna Go Home

Barcelona Zoo: I Wanna Go Home

Today I am experimenting with BW in this shot taken at Barcelona Zoo. The chimp in the picture seems to be sad and fed up, so I put words in his/her mouth: I wanna go home! or maybe I feel sorrow for you!. No matter how well conditioned zoos are, nothing can replace an animal's natural habitat, and we don´t have any right to do this just to satisfy our curiosity.

Explore Barcelona Zoo Satellite Image on Google Maps.


Barcelona Zoo is a charming fixture in the heart of our city. Founded in 1892 using animals from the private collection of Lluís Martí i Codolar, the zoo was inaugurated on September 24th, coinciding with the Feast of La Merce.

The zoo occupies a city block in the Parc de la Ciutadella near the picturesque Cascada fountain. It features several biozones that recreate habitats from tropical, temperate, and desert regions. The premises are home to around 300 species and 2000 animals. The collection includes mammals like giraffes, lions, tigers, gorillas, rhinos, kangaroos, camels, and anteaters; birds like pelicans, flamingos, and macaws; as well as reptiles like anacondas and komodo dragons. The zoo also cultivates over 300 plant species and is a habitat for diverse urban wildlife.

One crowd favorite used to be Snowflake, an extremely rare albino Gorilla. Snowflake arrived in Barcelona in 1966 after being captured by chance in the forests of Río Muni, in what is today Equatorial Guinea. He died as a venerable patriarch in 2003.

One of Barcelona Zoo's main attractions are its unique exotic animal collections. The zoo is home to Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, and other animals not commonly found in European zoos. Visitors can get close to giraffes and feed elephants by hand at scheduled times. The Terrarium contains diverse amphibians and reptiles species and there is also an extensive Aviary with more than 70 species of birds from different continents..

While Barcelona Zoo provides many benefits, the practice of housing wild animals for public display raises ethical questions. Critics argue captivity often falls short of meeting animals' natural needs and reflecting their true habitats. The zoo elephants' small enclosure, for instance, lacks the rich social structures and hundreds of square miles elephants roam in the wild. Some also believe resources spent on zoos would better serve conservation if directed to protecting natural ecosystems.

The Barcelona Zoo has not been without controversy. Critics have accused it of losing prestige due to a declining focus on conservation and research. The dismissal of zoo director Carme Maté, a primate specialist, led to complaints about Townhall prioritizing business interests over animals. The death of one of its elephants in 2008 also sparked protests, with activists and veterinarians arguing the remaining elephant, Susi, should be moved to a sanctuary. Politicians and activists criticized the zoo for keeping Susi in isolation and small enclosure. Despite petitions and proposals to relocate Susi, the Barcelona Zoo refused to part with its lone elephant.

Regardless of past controversies, the Barcelona Zoo continues to implement reforms that prioritize animal welfare, conservation, and education.

In recent years, the Barcelona Zoo efforts include:

  1. Participating in nearly 100 European endangered species programs.
  2. Over 85% of animal species classified as threatened by the IUCN Red List.
  3. Nearly 30% of animals born at the zoo released back into the wild in recent years.
  4. Over 1.5 million euros invested in research projects in the last decade, 50% focused on native species.
  5. The Barcelona Zoo works closely with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) to promote wildlife conservation and habitat preservation. The zoo's Research and Conservation Program funds scientific studies and supports projects to protect threatened species globally.

Along with its conservation mission, Barcelona Zoo provides families and tourists an engaging day of fun, learning and animal encounters.

With its wide variety of species, the zoo aims to foster respect and appreciation for wildlife while also actively supporting habitat protection and breeding programs for endangered species worldwide. As one of Spain's most visited attractions, the Barcelona Zoo strives to inform the public about biodiversity and inspire visitors to join efforts to preserve nature. After more than a century of operation, the zoo remains committed to its mission of conservation, research, and environmental awareness.

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