Tired of visiting the same old zoos and wildlife reserves every time? Well, here’s a place where you can get as close to natural wildlife as you possibly can and stay alive to tell everybody about it.
Located about 50 miles from Beunos Aires, the Lujan Zoo in Argentina is fast becoming one of the most dangerous yet popular zoos in the world. What would it be like to walk inside the cage of a lion, bear or a tiger? Scary? Well that’s exactly what the Lujan Zoo offers its visitors.
One of Argentina’s best kept secrets, the zoo is accessible by a bus numbered 57, which starts from the town of Plaze Italia and drops you off at the entrance of what looks like a typical farm about an hour and half away. An entrance fee of 5 pounds or 20 pesos will see you entering the most interactive zoo on earth.
By interactive, we don’t mean just the viewing of the animals but also the physical interaction with them.
The zoo houses a number of animals like deers, tigers, llamas, lions, bears, cheetahs, foxes wolves, elephants, hippos etc. and also provides a sanctum for smaller animals and birds.
In addition to this, a part of the zoo has been dedicated for some of the oldest tractors and military vehicles. A small train ride will take you on a tour of these vehicles which will give you a nostalgic experience.
If you want to be more daring, then pay a sum of 50 dollars and sign on a paper that says the zoo would not be responsible for any accidents or deaths caused by the animals. After that, there is no looking back.
Among the various attractions the zoo provides, the most spine chilling experience would be staying in a cage full of lions and tigers. Don’t worry.
The animals would be well fed before you can venture into the cages. In addition to this, they are all trained to be soft and don’t cause any harm at all unless you intentionally provoke them in any way.Flash photography is strictly prohibited in the zoo.
The zookeepers are very intimate with the animals and it is very often that you can get to see them playing rough with the animals and rolling around with them.
The smaller animals allow themselves to be carried and fondled by various visitors. There is not much regard given to safety and the visitors are at their own risk, but that adds to the excitement considering the fact that they are rarely harmed by these creatures.
Get on top of a lions back, pat and cuddle it, take pictures of yourself feeding a tiger or cheetah, ride on a camel or elephant, get hold of some monkeys and feed them, get into a cage full of wild birds etc. The list of daredevil activities is endless and you get a whole lot of heroic pictures to show your friends and family.
The activities are not restricted to children as they can also get close to the wild animals in addition to fondling a lot of the smaller creatures. However, there is no need to fear as trained professionals are always nearby especially around predators.
Ever since it’s beginning, the zoo has been the center of numerous controversies about the free animals being a potential threat to humans. Many authorities, including The Born Free Foundation and the Animal Protection Charity have tried to close the zoo deeming its practice unsafe for the visitors.
Local bans have been issued on the zoo and pamphlets have been issued to tourists warning them of the danger posed by the animals which they say are extremely unpredictable and lethal.
However, the zoo’s authorities have refuted all allegations, claiming that the animals are appropriately trained and pose no threat whatsoever to the visitors.
They also allege that they don’t harass the animals to be with people; rather they let visitors get close to the animals only when the animals feel like it. No one is allowed to enter the cage of a lion if the creature is in a bad mood or hungry.
The founders of the zoo assert that all the animals in the zoo were either those neglected by the parents, those illegally brought into the country and then freed or those neglected by their owners after growing up. These animals if neglected would have been hunted down or perished due to malnutrition.
The zoo also ascertains the fact that there are stringent protective measures that prevent the animals from turning on to humans. They are well fed, well trained with domestic pets and most important of all, not sedated.
In addition to all this, guests are not allowed inside the cages unless they are accompanied by one or two zoo keepers.
Clearly, the zoo keeps a track of all the visitation days and has no records of accidents or deaths till date. This point is more than enough to arouse the curiosity of the visitor and the zoo draws a large number of tourists and locals alike the year around.
So the next time you are in Argentina, take some time off to visit this wonderful place and we guarantee, you would never want to visit any other ‘normal’ zoo for the rest of your life.