Tenerife’s Loro Parque named world’s top zoo again
Leading Tenerife attraction Loro Parque has been named the world’s Number One zoo for the second year in a row by global travel review company TripAdvisor.
The award comes hot on the heels of the grand opening of the Zen Garden, a unique submerged garden that demonstrates that the popular tourist attraction continues to bring new surprises to those who appreciate its commitment to wildlife in all its beauty and diversity.
The zoo has also just welcomed two new members to its zoological family, with the addition of two Pygmy Hippos that have arrived from Germany and the Czech Republic to live together in a naturalised facility specially designed for them. In the Parque, they will act as representatives of their peers in nature, who are facing serious problems, due in particular to the destruction of their habitat.
Adela and Malela, both females, will live in a space that recreates the swampy areas where this species lives in the wild, with water as the main element. As they do not sweat, contact with the air dries their skin very quickly, so water is vital to lowering their body temperature and keeping their bodies hydrated.
Pygmy Hippos are vegetarians, consuming mainly leaves, ferns, herbs, roots, fallen fruit and shrubs, as well as semi-aquatic plants, which they eat from time to time. Unlike most animals, this species uses its lips instead of the teeth to gobble up food.
A unique feature of this species from the African continent is that, unlike common hippos, they do not have their young in the water, but give birth on land and the young are able to swim immediately after birth.
The arrival of these two female Pygmy Hippopotami at Loro Parque will allow visitors to discover a magnificent species that is in danger of extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Very close to the new facility that will host the Pygmy Hippos, visitors will be able to discover another endangered species, in the form of Ringed Tail Lemurs, charismatic animals that hail from Madagascar. Familiar and very sociable, they belong to a primitive group of primates, which are associated in clans of up to 30 individuals and are usually dominated by the females.
Unfortunately, habitat loss due to mining, logging and hunting, among other threats faced by the species in the wild, has led to a population decline of more than 50 per cent over the past 30 years. Their presence in Loro Parque will thus help to raise awareness among visitors of their precarious situation in Madagascar.