Built atop Yuantong Shan in 1953, this zoo is run-down and depressing. It is also a famous place for viewing cherry blossoms in early spring.
For those following the tragic saga of the baby calf elephant (born at Kunming Zoo), who was forcibly separated from its mother to perform as solo act elsewhere for profit, there's finally some good news. After months of social media uproar and complaints over the cruel treatments of the calf in tears during training in leaked vids, the calf is soon returning back to our local zoo. The visibly depressed mother and calf will soon be reunited after a brief quarantine period. One extra star for the zoo for adhering to the voices of the public. A step in the right direction. More compassion for our animal friends in captivity.
For those who remember the zoo as it was 4-5 years ago, there are definitely some improvements. The lion, tiger and elephant enclosures are much better than the old concrete cages. The various deer have more space too. The "monkey mountain" and wildfowl pond are actually quite nice. Sure, if you hate the idea of zoos then obviously avoid this one. But otherwise ...well, I've seen a lot worse in China.
This place made me cry. The animals look distressed, poorly fed, in confined dirty conditions and neglected. It's also overrun with screaming children and cameras going off pestering the animals. I felt incredibly sorry for the animals and the inhumane conditions they must endure for inconsiderate people who dont give a damn about beautiful, endangered species. Disgusting.
I'm disappointed in myself for even considering giving this place another chance. I wanted to give my 4-month old a chance to see some live animals and I was sure that there was no way that the Kunming Zoo was as bad as it was 15 years ago. Somehow it was worse. It's disgraceful that with all of the changes that this city has undergone in the last two decades that this zoo still lacks any sense of decency or morality.
This zoo gave me an insight into how this country views endangered animals. Watch tigers pace back and forth in concrete cages, wolves shivering in the corner behind bars, and zebras looking for a feed. Yes, you can feed the animals whatever you have in your pockets apparently. If that's not enough, purchase a dying turtle to hang around your neck while you eat a caged chicken burger from McDonalds. Oh but the peacocks have lots of grass and space to walk. It was refreshing to see.