After months of rumors and speculation, it is finally official: Kunming's downtown zoo will be moved out of the city and its current location on Yuantong Mountain (圆通山) will be converted into a city park.
The location of the new zoo has yet to be determined, but it will reportedly be 1000 mu (67 hectares), just under three times the area of the current zoo.
According to a Kunming Daily report citing city officials, it will be in Anning, about 30 kilometers west of Kunming or Chenggong new district to the city's south. Kunming residents have been asked to send their thoughts on where the new zoo should be to kmyljfjylc(at)163(dot)com.
The current Kunming zoo opened in 1953 and covers 23 hectares of Yuantong Mountain, which it shares with Yuantong Temple plus a smattering of hotels, restaurants and bars.
The current zoo has more than 2,000 animals representing more than 170 species, including some highly protected species such as the Yunnan golden snub-nosed monkey and Siberian tiger.
Wherever the new Kunming Zoo is built, it is hoped by many that the conditions for its animal residents improve greatly over the current zoo, which would be difficult to describe as anything other than inhumane.
Most animals in the zoo have very little space to roam and are often in cages that resemble prisons and many animals exhibit signs of neglect or injury. No effort has been made to recreate the animals' natural habitats, and many of the animals on display show signs of depression or other mental disorders.
The treatment of animals in China's zoos has drawn much criticism online, including in this website's forum section, but there are some indications that the country is slowly moving toward a more humane approach.
In January of this year the China Zoo Association banned animal performances in zoos.
Practices such as removing the teeth of tiger cubs so that visitors can hold them and selling animals to be fed to great cats have also been banned. However, as always, a rule being passed in Beijing is one thing – whether it is enforced locally is a different matter.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.