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This review written by Christoph Schwitzer and reprinted by Kind Permission of International Zoo News As in New York City, a great proportion of the population of Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná, consists of immigrants (mainly Slavonian, German and Italian). And, again like New York City (or Paris or Berlin), Curitiba has two zoos. The larger one, called simply Curitiba Zoo, is situated about fifteen minutes outside the city centre in a suburban area with the river Iguaçú running through (here it is tiny compared with its width at the Iguaçú Falls, several hundred miles west of Curitiba).
The zoo, which is owned by the city and thus free of admission, occupies an area of about 140 acres (57 ha), which is partly forested but mainly consists of open land. It was founded as recently as 1982 and, according to the International Zoo Yearbook, employs 94 staff and houses 284 animal species (Olney and Fisken, 1995). The latter include beasts from all over the world, as there are giraffes, hippos, lions, leopards, pumas and tigers, to name just a few. But here, too, many species are native to South America, and there are a few as interesting as the giant anteater, the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and the red brocket. Except for the carnivores, which can be seen in relatively small outdoor cages of a building that is not accessible to the public, most of the animals are housed in large paddocks, fenced in by what looks like the border demarcation of the former GDR: definitely adequate for the hoofstock, but not very appealing to visitors! The zoo's groups of brown capuchins, woolly monkeys and black spider monkeys live on islands which, though they provide some bushes and ropes for the animals to climb on, lack larger trees that would give some shade and, overall, look a bit bare and dreary.
In contrast to the other collections that I saw in this country, here is a zoo that, though it is certainly not bad, does not seem to specialise in anything and provides its visitors with rather a messy accumulation of different animals, that does not contain many rarities for the interested or professional and is not of much educational value for the amateur. Much could be gained here by giving away some species in favour of others and by more imaginative enclosure design for those remaining.
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