In 2015 I visited the Parc Merveilleux in Bettembourg, Luxembourg. It is one of the few large tourist attraction of this small country surrounded by Germany, Belgium and France. This park of wonders is a combination of a zoo and a fairytale park, which made me a bit reluctant to go there. But on this beautiful September day of my visit, after the new school semester just started, I was one of the few visitors making my way around the premises of this surprisingly nice zoo.
A shocking incident of about a month ago, when a rhinoceros at Thoiry Zoo was shot and its horn was harvested by poachers with a chainsaw, made me wonder if this would stop at rhinos being poached in zoos and how this could be prevented, at all. So, I thought, why not turn zoos into infotainment facilities based on nature documentaries in 3D IMAX quality, starring all those threatened species we need to protect in the wild. Well, just a thought ...
Luxembourg is a small country that besides its beautiful nature in the North has only a limited number of large tourist attractions. The Parc Merveilleux, or Marvellous Park in English, is one of them. It started as a theme park based on the concept of a fairy tale park and has been in existence for more than 50 years. It is now a combination of a zoo and a fairytale park, and therefore still targets families with young children, as many zoos do anyway. Although not much to my liking I admit that when considering the large number of fairytale exhibits and children playgrounds at the Parc Merveilleux, visitors – and even children – can still admire the marvels of nature in this surprisingly nice zoo. More information here.
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The zoo, a perfect hunting ground for poachers
A shocking, but not surprising accident was reported a few weeks ago. A rhinoceros at Thoiry Zoo (Château et parc de Thoiry) was shot and its horn was harvested by poachers with a chainsaw. The market for rhino horn has reached an all-time high, driven primarily by markets in Vietnam and China. Horn is seen as a status symbol, and is used in traditional Asian medicine, despite the lack of evidence that proves its medicinal value. So rhino horn has reached twice the value of gold. Due to poaching the number of rhinos in the wild is plummeting globally. Protection of these species in the wild increases. So, it was not a surprise that Vince the rhino at Thoiry Zoo lost his life to meet the demands of those ill-informed growing crowd of affluent Asian people. It was about to happen sometime. But will it stop at rhinos? Read more