Zoo gears up for tourism season in southern Turkey

Alaturka Kultur Sanat Haberleri

By Hatice Ozdemir Tosun

ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) – One of Turkey's largest zoos has opened for visitors, after suspending operations for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Zoo and Nature Park in the Mediterranean resort city hosts 1,451 animals of 134 species, including endangered ones.

Aygul Arsun, the director of the zoo, told Anadolu Agency that new attractions such as dust baths for donkeys and horses, glass walls in the enclosure for big cats, and a children's section to see Zebras have been introduced.

She added that measures have been taken to maintain social distancing at all times, while visitors will be required to get their temperature checked at the entrance and wear a mask.

The zoo will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. While citizens aged 65 and above can visit between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., children are allowed from 1-4 p.m.

Arsun said the zoological garden is one of the best in Turkey in terms of comfort for animals, resulting in more potential for reproduction, which is evident from a constant rise in breeding numbers.

"In 2020, we got a ground squirrel, dwarf pig, mara, and giant rabbits. We want an African savannah this year, and also plan to buy giraffes,” she said.

She said that nearly 400,000 people visited the zoo last year despite COVID-19, and this year's goal is to draw 1 million visitors.

*Writing by Sena Guler in Ankara