Home TravelHungary Travel Diaries: Budapest Zoo

Travel Diaries: Budapest Zoo

22 September, 2014 1 comment

I feel I need a little disclaimer at the start of this post- I don’t know how I feel about zoos. I think it’s frankly horrifying that humans think they have the right to ‘imprison’ other species, just because we can. I think that no zoo can ever mimic an animals natural habitat well enough for it to be a decent replacement and that captivity is, in essence, wrong. However I recognise that zoos do actually have benefits such as awareness (especially amongst younger generations), conservation and understanding. For the most part, creatures in zoos are free from natural predators and human hunters so, especially with endangered creatures, we can ensure they don’t die out.

I went to the zoo. I felt conflicted. No hate please.

Budapest Zoo is absolutely enormous and houses just about every creature you would expect. It’s right in the heart of Budapest, beside the incredible Heroes Square and ticket prices are ridiculously cheap. It’s just 2500 HUF per person for adults, which is around €8 each (a little less).

Entrance to Budapest Zoo

Entrance to Budapest Zoo

Some areas were a little weird and I didn’t quite understand how they were allowed- the sloth area for example. It was a closed enclosure, in a huge glass building, but the sloth and visitor area was open. Ropes stopped people getting into the pit with the trees and food and mud, but the sloths could climb the trees and just be walking along the visitor area. This guy was just chilling on a window sill, literally inches from our heads. You could just reach and touch him, if you felt so inclined.

Sloth at Budapest Zoo

Sloth at Budapest Zoo

Similarly, in the alligator enclosure, although they couldn’t get up to the visitor area and visitors couldn’t get into their area, we could just lean over and some despicable cretins, a lot actually, were throwing coins in, AT the alligators, purposely to hit them, trying to make them move. They didn’t move so I’m sure they couldn’t feel it but I was horrified at the people throwing these metal objects at the poor creatures, with all their might! There were no zoo staff around to keep an eye on the people, who were clearly much less civilised than even the most primitive animal.

I’m not sure what exactly these precious little darlings are (if you know, please comment!) but I fell in love with them. And they absolutely loved the camera, this guy was posing for anyone with a lens!

Sharing a kiss at Budapest Zoo!

Sharing a kiss at Budapest Zoo!

budapest zoo

3 of my 10 tattoos will show you that I love butterflies. Joe, not so keen. He was brave though and came into the butterfly area with me, which I love him for. I wasn’t lucky enough to see one of these angels land on me, but I had a good chance to marvel at them. Some were absolutely huge. My shaky hands couldn’t deal with the up close shots so I was disappointed not to have more to share!

Butterfly close up at Budapest Zoo

Butterfly close up at Budapest Zoo

We stood and watched the gorillas for ages. They are fascinating. I know it’s incredibly ignorant and self important but I really do just marvel at how ‘human’ they are- although that’s really quite an insult to the magnificent creatures. We were watching them for a while, there were around 3 or 4 big ones chilling out and we were trying to guess who was the alpha. Until this beast walked over. At least twice as big as the rest of them, he was a monster. But so graceful, regal even.

My camera did this weird thing when I zoomed where it just somehow blocked out the wire gate that was in front of me, so it really looks like there was nothing between us. It certainly felt like we were just feet away when he slowly turned his head to stare back at us.

Alpha male gorilla at Budapest Zoo

Alpha male gorilla at Budapest Zoo

Huge alpha male gorilla at Budapest Zoo

Huge alpha male gorilla at Budapest Zoo

This tiny little guy was soaking up the sun with the gorillas and it took an eagle eye and some serious zoom to catch this amazing pose. Serious, ‘Bitch, I’m fabulous’ vibes going on here!

Fabulous, sunbathing turtle at Budapest Zoo

Fabulous, sunbathing turtle at Budapest Zoo

This picture is the most upsetting of everything during our visit to the zoo. This tiger looks incredibly thin to me. They’re usually such thick, powerful creatures. It’s heartbreaking to see them walking bath and forth, roaring and wailing as they do in most zoos, but it was much, much harder seeing this shadow of a cat just laying there as if it had given up. I don’t know if it was unwell or if there is something here the zoo is aware of, but this does not look like a happy tiger to me.

Thin tiger at Budapest Zoo

Thin tiger at Budapest Zoo

The tiger was the only animal we saw that really made me feel uncomfortable, so it could have been simply that it was unwell and it was being treated, but it does make you wonder how they’re being cared for, if they’re being treated well and if this is really the right place for the animals.

I was reassured somewhat though with the quality of the entire place and how well the rest of the creatures seemed to be.

Brown bear at Budapest Zoo

Brown bear at Budapest Zoo

I went a little snap happy with the giraffes. They are just wonderful. So, so bizarre looking but so, so adorable. Their patterns are mesmerising and since learning more about them in recent Attenborough documentaries my respect and awe has really grown. They’re fascinating creatures, truly beautiful.

Gorgeous giraffes at Budapest Zoo

Gorgeous giraffes at Budapest Zoo

Giraffe close up at Budapest Zoo

Giraffe close up at Budapest Zoo

Giraffe feeding time at Budapest Zoo

Giraffe feeding time at Budapest Zoo

I was very disappointed with how all the information, plaques and talks were in Hungarian at Budapest Zoo. I know that sounds a silly thing to say, but the fact is that English is the most international language and from what I could hear whilst walking around, the majority of people there were foreign tourists.

At London Zoo they have all the information boxes in a number of different languages and it’s really something I think they should consider adding.

Resting rhino at Budapest Zoo

Resting rhino at Budapest Zoo

Zebra at Budapest Zoo

Zebra at Budapest Zoo

Feeding time for the zebra at Budapest Zoo

Feeding time for the zebra at Budapest Zoo

This guy was like a damn zebra whisperer, he was amazing with them. There were 3 zebras in the pen and he and a female colleague were working with them, trying to train them a little and get to know them. All 3 worked perfectly with him, following him around the paddock, going where they were told and taking treats gently.

The poor woman didn’t have so much luck, two of the zebras pretty much ignored her and this third one was acting like a real cheeky monkey. Running away from her, going exactly where she didn’t want him to go and nipping playfully at her. Here it looks like he’s stomping his hooves as he gets a telling off!

Naughty zebra at Budapest Zoo!

Naughty zebra at Budapest Zoo!

Yawning hippo at Budapest Zoo!

Yawning hippo at Budapest Zoo!

Meerkats are another animal I could just watch for hours, so again, I took way too many pictures. They were such posers!

Nosy meerkat at Budapest Zoo

Nosy meerkat at Budapest Zoo

Hungry meerkat at Budapest Zoo

Hungry meerkat at Budapest Zoo

Posing meerkat at Budapest Zoo

Posing meerkat at Budapest Zoo

Overall, I was conflicted, as I always am, at Budapest Zoo, however on the whole I thought it was clean, well kept and the animals seemed to be in good health and with plenty of space to roam and enjoy. I’d recommend it for people who are into zoos (like me) but if you are someone who doesn’t agree with them, please don’t use this as a forum for hate.

For even more pictures of our zoo visit, make sure to check out my facebook page here! I post more pictures than I can fit into a post and regularly chat with you guys!

1 comment

Scott Lee Holloway 6 October, 2014 - 6:05 pm

The cute little rodents are Black-tailed prairie dogs.
I’m exactly the same as you, I am a HUGE animal lover so love seeing them in person, but I’m always conflicted about animals in captivity. I always look them in the eye and think “are they happy?” It’s like when I next visit Malta around June next year I was considering swimming with Dolphins but decided against it as most experts believe Dolphins are depressed in captivity as they are so intelligent. Like you said these parks do help with conservation of endangered species etc. but I’m still very conflicted. Loving your blog by the way! Reading up on your older posts haha! x

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