For the third time, Nyíregyháza Zoo has been rated the best zoo in Europe in the category accomodating between 250-500,000 visitors, according to an independent zoo expert. The award was presented on Tuesday at the Sóstógyógyfürdő attraction.
At the event, expert Anthony Sheridan said that 126 zoos in 29 countries were evaluated according to about 40 criteria: in category C, i.e. under half a million visitors, Nyíregyháza Zoo won the first place out of 45 zoos, repeating its success in 2015 and 2018.
The survey reflects the situation before 2020, as the coronavirus epidemic in the last two years has made it much more difficult for zoos to operate and assess their performance, he added. He stressed that the park has been steadily developing in recent years and has become the fastest-growing zoo among city-owned zoos in Europe.
In the evaluation system, zoos are assessed on the basis of visitor numbers, species conservation, quality of zoo education, profitability, and organizational performance, among other key criteria. Criteria examined include species range, husbandry, conservation, visitor experience, marketing, investment, and staff numbers.
It is noteworthy that this zoo has more animals and exhibits than, for example, the zoos in London, Stuttgart, or Zurich, he said, noting that a key factor in the score is if the zoo’s botanical section is “in good shape” alongside its zookeeping section.
The ranking divides zoos into three groups depending on the number of visitors per year. The winner of the zoos with more than a million visitors a year – category A – is Zurich Zoo, while in category B, i.e. over 500,000 visitors a year, Sheridan rated Rostock Zoo as the best, and in category C, Nyíregyháza Zoo is followed by Aalborg Zoo in Denmark, which shared first place with Odense in Denmark in 2015.
At the event, László Gajdos, Director of the Zoo and President of the Association of Hungarian Zoos, announced that Endre Papp, Deputy Director of the Zoo, had been elected President of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).
The Nyíregyháza Zoo, which is twenty-five years old this year, has a “very powerful” zoo collection, and the election of the park’s expert as president is a mark of the professional work carried out here, he added. The animal population is constantly expanding, with the birth of a new baby anteater, an Indian rhinoceros, and an African elephant, for example, expected in Nyíregyháza.
Featured image: A man watches an orangutan with his daughter in the Green Pyramid of Nyíregyháza Zoo on May 1, 2021. Photo by Attila Balázs/MTI