Mendoza Zoo Argentina Zoo Review

Mendoza Zoo, Argentina – Zoo Review

The RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review is a quick but informed guide to the quality of places where the public can see animals, including zoos, dolphinariums and other attractions.

We’ve used a range of measures, taken from information available online, to judge how well the animals at the particular zoo or animal attraction are looked after. More than just a ‘review’, the results are actually a Quality Index which will allow tourists and the attractions themselves to judge how well the attractions are performing.

Please note, the information we use is taken from what we assume to be genuine and factually correct comments from reviews, blogs and news stories. If there are factual inaccuracies, please let us know and we will make the relevant changes.

RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review Rating for: Mendoza Zoo, Argentina

Zoo_Review_Stamp_Unacceptable

Summary

Mendoza Zoo is the largest zoo in Argentina, and also one of the most controversial in the world. This is due to Arturo, the polar bear, known as “the saddest animal on the planet”. Experts and scientists have requested his transfer from the zoo, where he endures temperatures up to 40 degrees, to Assiniboine Park Zoo in Canada.

In order to achieve this, Guillermo Elizalde, Minister of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources responded to a 700,000 signatory petition, and the Office of Environmental Research of Argentina reviewed the case. They dismissed the abuse and ruled Arturo in the good health as determined by their own researchers. Minister Elizalde was notified that after extensive research the complaints received in November 2013 would be dismissed and that Arturo was too old to travel. In its conclusions, the Zoo promised some improvements in his enclosure as well as throughout the entire zoo; these improvements are still pending

But Arturo isn’t the only problem. All their animals appear to be living in small, bare cages, and some of them, like monkeys and horses, are loose without any supervision. All the negative comments on TripAdvisor and Google that refer to animal welfare, discuss total neglect towards the animals and a deplorable quality of life.

Arturo polar bear-express.co.uk

Report Card

Section One: Social Media and News

This section looks at how the attraction is rated by people on key reviewing sites, and in blogs/the media. The reviews are often not concerned with animal welfare, so this section has a lower influence on the overall mark than other sections. However, it is an important measure of the way the attraction is viewed by visitors.

Number of negative TripAdvisor reviews

For the most recent 20 reviews which appear on the official TripAdvisor page for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative reviews:  15/20

Score: 1 Point

Out of the first 20 reviews, 15 mention concerns about animal welfare. These were primarily focused on the state and bareness of the cages. Monkeys free roaming and suffering from injuries. Complete abandonment of animals with elevated signs of stress and depression. So little security that visitors can put their fingers in the cages. Four neutral comments were happy to see animals up close without mentioning the conditions of them. One positive comment expressed the animals happiness and quality of life.

Number of negative Google reviews

For the most recent 20 reviews which appear on the Google search page for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative reviews: 10/17

Score: 1.5 Points

Only 17 reviews were used as these were the only ones that had comments. 10 mentioned a big concern about Arturo, the polar bear, and also that the cages were extremely small. The other 7 are neutral comments, showing happiness to see animals up close and unspecified why they like the Zoo.

Number of negative news articles and blogs
For the most recent 10 independent blogs or news articles for the attraction, how many mention animal welfare in a negative way. The score is worked out as a percentage (see method below).

Number of negative mentions:  9/10

Score: 0 points

Out of the first 10 independent news stories and blogs to mention the attraction, 9 mention concerns about animal welfare. Most expressed a huge concern for Arturo, the polar bear. Five environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace, presented a long-term plan. They suggested the creation of an ecopark; they propose to send exotic animals to sanctuaries and restore the habitat of indigenous species. Dozens of petitions asked the Zoo transfer the polar bear and even close the zoo completely, as clear abuse and neglect is present. The only other story was the birth of a Bactrian camel in perfect health.

Total Score for Social Media and News Section:  2.5/10

 

Section Two: General Quality of Life

This section looks generally at how the animals, as a whole, appear to be treated. It is based on the internationally recognised Five Freedoms, which focus on key aspects of animal welfare including feeding, housing, health, behaviour and protection from fear/distress.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The Possibly category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

Absence of prolonged hunger and/or thirst

Score: Possibly   1 Points

Being fed an appropriate diet based on their wild diet

Score: Possibly   1 Point

Many visitors claim to see whole families feeding animals like bears and elephants, and even see the monkeys stealing food from animals like eagles. However there is no information about food fed by keepers to the animals.

Ease of movement within living quarters

Score: No   0 Points

Enrichment in living quarters (eg climbing frame, toys etc)

Score: No   0 Points

Absence of injuries or disease

Score: No   0 Points

Most animals show impaired hygiene and absence of muscle mass. The most dramatic case are the monkeys, all with serious injuries.

Absence of pain (eg being not being chained, or not being hit by staff)

Score: No   0 Points

Ability to express natural and social behaviours in living quarters

Score: Possibly   1 Point

The monkeys that are free roaming have no problem expressing natural social behaviours; however confined animals have little ability to do this.

Good human-animal relationship with staff

Score: No   0 Points

Cages and security of the zoo are so old that visitors can reach into the cages and interact with animals without any sort of supervision.

Absence of general fear/distress/apathy

Score: Possibly   1 Point

The free roaming animals and animals in some cages have access to hides.

Ability to seek privacy/refuge from humans and other animals

Score: Possibly   1 Point

Total Score for General Quality of Life:  5/20

 

Section Three: Interaction with the Public

This section focusses on the way the attraction allows the public to touch, play with, photograph, feed or otherwise interact with the animals. The focus is on whether or not the interactions are causing harm or stress/discomfort to the animals, and if they could be dangerous to the public.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The Possibly category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the animal’s welfare

Score: No   0 Points

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the public’s welfare (any previous history of dangerous incidents)

Score: No   0 Points

The animals are not forced to interact with the public – they can refuse

Score: Possibly   1 Point

The public are not allowed to handle the animals and touch them

Score: No   0 Points

The interactions are supervised by staff and in an educational context

Score: No   0 Points

Total Score for Interaction with the Public:  1/10

Section Four: Conservation and Education

This section looks at whether or not the attraction has a focus on conservation – for example does it support animals in the wild through breeding programmes, research or donations; and education – are visitors informed about the animals so they are not simply seen as objects for human amusement/entertainment.

Each item is scored as either two points for a Yes, zero points for a No or one point for Possibly. (The Possibly category also includes situations where the answer would be Sometimes; or if the answer is unknown).

Are some of the animals part of international breeding programs?

Score: No   0 Points

Is there evidence of them having released animals into the wild?

Score: No   0 Points

Do they actively undertake scientific research into conservation/behaviour of their animals?

Score: No   0 Points

Does the attraction give money to conservation or animal protection programmes?

Score: No   0 Points

Does the attraction provide educational talks or written displays to inform visitors about the animals?

Score: Possibly   1 Point

They provide programs for universities but generally do not provide educational information for visitors. However visitors do have the option to request a tour. Their website states: “The tours aim to raise awareness about the need to conserve the flora and fauna; to know the problems of illegal trafficking of species; and to engage children and adults in active participation for the preservation of animal and plant species.”

Total Score for Conservation and Education:  1/10

 

Zoo Review Final Score for Mendoza Zoo:  9.5/50

Rating: Unacceptable – the animal welfare at this attraction appears to  be of a very low standard and a cause of great concern

Do you agree or disagree with this Zoo Review? Please let us know in the Comments below.
If you are from this attraction and would like to comment on this Zoo Review, we’ll be happy to publish your response. Please email info@careforthewild.com or click here

Notes

1. This report was compiled on: 22nd October 2014 by Kira Ramirez. Find out more about our Zoo Review campaign here.

2. Zoo Review Final Score is given out of 50 as a sum of the four sections, then a RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review rating is awarded based on this score:

0-10: Unacceptable – the animal welfare at this attraction appears to be of a very low standard and a cause of great concern
11-20: Poor – it appears that significant improvement is needed in order to meet welfare standards
21-30: Average – the attraction scores well in some areas but improvements would be welcome
31-40: Good – Public opinion and animal welfare measures suggest that the animals here are looked after well
41-50: Best in Class – the welfare of the animals appears to be of a very high standard

3. TripAdvisor and Google scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (20) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 2.5 as follows:

0-19% negative 2.5 points
20-39% 2 points
40-59% 1.5 points
60-79% 1 point
80-89% 0.5 point
90–100% 0 points

3. News and blog scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (10) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 5 as follows:

0-19% negative 5 points
20-39% 4 points
40-59% 3 points
60-79% 2 point
80-89% 1 point
90–100% 0 points





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