Wildlife park draws visitors despite pandemic
The Ormanya Wildlife Park in the northwestern province of Kocaeli hosted 5 million visitors despite the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Kocaeli Mayor Tahir Büyükakın said that Ormanya, located in Kartepe district, opened in May 2018. With a spectacular natural habitat, Ormanya welcomes millions of visitors each year, becoming Turkey’s most visited one.
Büyükakın emphasized that Ormanya has become one of the favorite places of tourists and that the construction and maintenance works continue in Ormanya, which had been closed for about two months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Ormanya had a very busy year with its zoo, wildlife area, Ormanköy, bird watching area, picnic area and camping area. Due to the pandemic, it was closed for two months. In this process, maintenance works continued and many measures were taken against the pandemic. A thermometer and COVID-19 notifications were placed at the entrance for visitors. Disinfectant machines were placed at many points in the area and frequent announcements are made for locals to pay attention to social distancing.”
Büyükakın stated that another noteworthy part of Ormanya is the Wild Habitat, and the reproduction of the red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, gazelle and jade horses living in this section is also a draw.
“With eight births of red deer, three of roe deer, six of fallow deer, 14 of gazelles and four births of jade horses, the Wild Habitat is home to a total of 154 wild animals. The number of red deer living in Ormanya Wildlife Area will be increased and they will be released to the wildlife areas in Samanlı Mountains and Kandıra region, where they are widely seen in Kocaeli.
Pointing out that the activities for children were also organized in Ormanya, Büyükakın said, “During the pandemic, the first stop of those who want to get away from the city was Ormanya, especially for campers. In addition to local nature lovers, Ormanya hosted tourists from countries such as Germany, Bulgaria, America, South Korea, France, Switzerland and England, and hosted 9,897 campers, 550 of whom were foreign tourists, during this period.”
Stating that there is also the Ormanya Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, he said that many difficult surgeries were performed in the center last year and many treatments were successfully completed.