Limassol Zoo came into existence around 1960. Situated in the corner of the municipal gardens near the boulevard along the Mediterranean coast there was not much space to create large enclosures and exhibits. The Zoo was populated with animals received from circuses, other zoos and private donations. Many different species have been on display in this small zoo, such as tigers, lions, panthers, bears, zebras, monkeys, foxes, mouflon, deer, ostriches, peacocks, vultures, emu, falcons, macaws, pelicans, swans, cherry pickers and ducks. In its heydays the zoo housed about 300 mammals and birds, which is quite incredible considering that we are talking about a surface area of not more than 0.6 ha, including a small petting zoo. It is not a surprise that a lot of complaints were uttered by the visitors seeing all those animals in cramped enclosures (cages). Therefore it is astounding that zebras, panthers, camels, mouflons, vultures and other smaller animals have been born in captivity in Limassol Zoo. They even produced offspring — nine cubs — with lions.
In the end the City Council acknowledged the complaints about the way the animals were housed in the Zoo, and decided to upgrade the premises and harmonise its relevant infrastructure with the European Union’s Zoo directive, related to preserving wild life in zoos. It was decided to create a new National Zoo Park, because Cyprus needed a modern zoo, which will become the wild animals’ protection centre, and a training and tourist centre at the same time, according the Limassol municipality website announcement in 2009. The Zoo would become much bigger, with a modern design, where the animals would be housed according their original habitat. To make this possible a request was made to Limassol citizens and companies for generous donations.
After two years of work, the re-vamped Limassol Zoo opened its gates to the public on 1st June 2012. Around 90 species of mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world are on display, but there will be a focus on Cyprus’ flora and fauna. The cost of €1.5 million was covered mainly by donations and sponsorships. The new zoo is supposed to be fully compliant with the EU Zoo directive and provide the best possible living conditions for the animals. Furthermore the zoo will be the place of study for a local breed of snake, a collaboration between the Zoo and a local university.
(Source: municipal website Limassol; CyprusMail, 02.06.2012)