Going back home means many improvised plans. Although you have in mind some places to go back to and some other new ones to explore, when reality kicks in you change them. That is why this visit was never planned, it just came up out of our curiosity and our passion for wildlife (May 2016).
Cocodrilo Park is a zoo park located in the south of Gran Canaria island, to be exact it is part of the Agüimes municipality. But it is not just any zoo. It’s a safe haven. It is now the home of many animals rescued by the SEPRONA or given by owners who haven’t known or couldn’t take care of these species.
A while ago, people has been collecting “exotic” animals as pets, I mean, animals to which this is not their natural habitat. The problem comes when those animal needs (or sizes) are out of our reach. What can we do then?
Some owners have decided for the most civilized option: give the animal to a center where it would have the proper care. That is the case of the Vietnamese pig family of the zoo.
Others have left the animals free. The animal could survive but also could become a plague or an invasive species like some of the snakes or the red monitor lizard.
But not all animals come from more or less responsible homes. Unfortunately, many of these animals come from the illegal traffic and in some cases, this includes animal abuse.Each animal has its own particular story, ask the guards to know more, you can find from giant tortoise or alligators to chimpanzees and tigers.
But beyond their sad stories, with its symbolic entrance fee you would be collaborating with the animal care and retrieval; the goal towards the public is to make people aware of the responsibility you take once you have an animal, there are also exhibitions and explanation of the animals habits (there are several crocodile exhibitions during the day).
Our goal by sharing this today is to make you aware of the importance of centers like this one, but also that, although we are overwhelmed of campaigns against the abandonment of our pets (mostly cats and dogs), the abandonment of these animals is as serious. The journey of many of these animals is tortuous and upsetting just because it is “cool” to have one of them. A question kept popping in our heads while we walked around the park:
How do meerkats get to Gran Canaria? How did those alligators get here? What about those crocodiles?
And those zebus? And the llama? And the tigers? And the chimpanzees? And the lemurs? And the macaw?
We only hope everyone gets more responsible, that when you take the decision of having an animal you think about the long run, in its future, in your future with the animal. That you question how and from where do those animals come from and if this, your home, is the right place. If all those questions are favorable then you can welcome those animals and be responsible. And if not, forget about it and visit parks like this one which goal is not to profit but to take care of each and every one of the animals that arrive there.
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