The ecological mayor of Lyon Grégory Doucet on Monday dispelled the concerns that could weigh on the future of the municipal zoological park of Tête d’Or, by reaffirming its vocation as a refuge for biodiversity.
“The first mission of this zoo is to protect and preserve (endangered species), taking animal welfare into account”, said Grégory Doucet, during the inauguration of a new section devoted to the fauna of Asia.
During the municipal campaign, a rumor, regularly denied, had affirmed that the coming to power of environmentalists would result in the closure of the largest free zoo in France, located in the heart of the prestigious Parc de la Tête d’Or.
The vocation of “awareness, awareness raising ” recognized at the zoo must however be accompanied by a further improvement in the living conditions of animals, noted the elected official.
The park already had a large “African plain” of 2.5 hectares where giraffes, zebras, antelopes and ostriches frolic.
The new “Asian forests” area, the construction of which had been initiated by the former municipal team, intentionally shows a very small number of species but in a highly vegetated environment reminiscent of their natural habitat.
Two-colored Malayan tapirs – “stars” of the new space, according to the deputy director of the zoo Gwendoline Anfray – will thus occupy a vast aviary of 1,600 square meters and 8 meters in height, with large swimming pool and shower (operable with their trunk).
They will only have a few binturongs (“bear cats” from mainland Southeast Asia) and several endangered bird species as roommates. Another aviary, 12 meters high, accommodates a family of gibbons, while the old elephant house has been rehabilitated to accommodate reptiles – which are making their return to the zoo.
A budget of one million euros will also be allocated by 2026 to expand the spaces available to certain species, such as Amur panthers, Hoest cercopithecines and yellow-breasted capuchins.
In the longer term, Grégory Doucet hopes to open a new thematic space, this time devoted to endangered fauna in Europe.
A partnership has also been signed between the city and the VetAgroSup veterinary school, which has a chair dedicated to animal welfare. In particular, it will make it possible to take stock of the transfer of animals to their new spaces, which are more spacious and more protected from the public.
“An experimental work“will also be carried out on the largest mammals in the park. But without waiting for its conclusions, “it is likely that when the lion dies, it will not be replaced”, noted Nicolas Husson, deputy mayor in charge of biodiversity.
Due to the emphasis placed on animal welfare, the Lyon zoo no longer features certain large animals, such as elephants, among its some 70 species. As for its crocodiles, they will soon be “reinserted” in wadis protected in Morocco.