Gaziantep Zoo attracts interest with new additions
Turkey’s biggest zoo in Gaziantep was visited by three million people this year from January to October.
The Gaziantep Zoo, established by the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality in 2001 in the Burç Forest, is home to 7,000 animals of 300 species and became one of the most popular venues in the city shortly after its establishment.
The zoo, the fourth biggest in the world in terms of its variety of species, also reached 3,110,000 visitors last year.
Can, a chimpanzee cub who was abandoned by his mother and taken care of by zoo officials and Cesur, a lion cub who was found in a car and taken under protection, are among the most important exhibits that have recently drawn visitors to the zoo.
A large part of the visitors are local tourists, said Celal Özsöyler, the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality head of the Wildlife Protection Department. “The zoo draws great interest from locals of neighboring cities like Adana, Mersin and Malatya. We also have many visitors from Istanbul and Ankara. We are pleased with this interest,” Özsöyler added, speaking to Anadolu Agency.
‘Chimpanzee Island’ to be established
Özsöyler said they made changes in the zoo all the time. “We opened the Safari Park at the zoo last year. This year, we opened the Zoology and Natural Museum. Our next goal is to open a ‘Chimpanzee Island’ in the coming year. We have drawn interest from visitors with these changes, so the number of visitors increases all the time. We are nearing 3.5 million visitors, which was our goal this year,” he said.
He said people always take an interest in the animal cubs. “We have the highest fertility rate in Europe. Can, the chimpanzee, Cesur, the lion, Şakir, the giraffe and the Zoology and Natural Museum were the top factors in drawing high interest in the zoo,” said Özsöyler.
The Zoology and Natural Museum at the Gaziantep Zoo is home to the animated skeletons of many animals, from a 4.5-meter-long mammoth that lived in 1,700 B.C. to the “dorudon,” the ancestor of the whale that dates back 33 million years. It ranges from the tyrannosaurus rex, king of the dinosaurs, to the dimetrodon reptile, which dates back 10,000 years, to stuffed wild animals.