Zoo is strangely
named since it
is not actually in Quito... However, it is definitely a zoo well worth
a visit and it's not too far from the city. The zoo is at
Guayllabamba and is run by the nonprofit Fundación
Zoológica de Ecuador. The most recent attraction
are the 2
leopard cubs born at the Zoo in late 2015.
collection focuses mostly on Ecuador's native fauna.
animals are rare or very shy, or both, so the zoo is a
to get a close-up look at creatures you are unlikely to even catch a
glimpse of in the wild. Obviously, zoo
animals behave a
little differently to animals in their natural
but study how they move, their size, colour and shape and you
will have more chance of spotting their wild cousins in their natural
Quito Zoo you can see several endangered species including rare
if you spent weeks in some of Ecuador's more remote areas you would
still be very lucky to see an ocelot (Leopardus
a jaguar (Panthera
a puma (Puma concolor)
or a spectacled bear (Tremarctos
ornatus) in the wild,
you can't miss them here at the zoo.
There are also other large
birds of prey and
endangered birds including colourful parrots. The lowland
has bred at the Zoo.
is a strong focus on conservation. Ecuador's national bird,
the endangered Andean condor (Vultur
has bred successfully at Quito Zoo. Two of the condor
offspring were released into the wild in late 2016 in a huge
conservation success, and some of the zoo personnel play key roles in
the National Condor Conservation group. The Zoo is also
involved in conservation projects
to help save the endangered mountain tapir, and
helped rehabilitate a baby bear cub, Bubu, who was later sucessfully
returned to the wild as an adult. Zoo personnel lend their
expertise and experience to conservation projects.
from time to time. Currently, there is an excellent
frogs. Don't miss the nocturnal animals part of the
where you walk, with a guide, through a cage containing some beautiful
owls, a porcupine and a two-toed sloth. The walk-through
aviary offers the chance to coexist with
toucans, parrots and more.
welfare standards can be a worry in developing
countries, but do not fear. Quito Zoo is a member of ALPZA
American association of zoos & aquariums), is
managing committee and adheres to WAZA
(World Association of Zoos & Aquariums) international
The zoo provides reasonably spacious enclosures, most with
for hiding away
from the public, and tries to replicate the relevant natural habitat.
healthy and are well cared for by dedicated staff, some of whom have
worked there ever since the Zoo moved to its current site in 1999.
Almost all of the animals at Quito Zoo have been rescued from
traffickers or abandoned by the public and
most would not be able to survive in the wild.
Zoo's impact goes far beyond what you see on display. The Zoo
plays a major role in
educating Ecuador's citizens about its wildlife, the need to conserve
it and the importance of not trafficking
wild animals. In addition to the animals on exhibit, there
many again in quarantine or under veterinary care after being
rescued from illegal captivity, confiscated from wildlife traffickers
abandoned by irresponsible "pet owners". The zoo works with
rescue centres around Ecuador to find suitable
homes for these animals and birds, or liberates the very few (mostly
birds & snakes)
that are suitable. The modest entry fee has
finance all of this work, so your visit to the zoo is a great way to
support conservation in Ecuador.
get to Quito Zoo, head to Quito's La
Ofelia Bus Station (get there by bus ($0.25) or taxi ($6-$8)
America and La Prensa). Take a bus for
Guayllabamba - around $1, takes less than an hour.
"zoológico" and you will be dropped where the road splits
just before Guayllabamba. From there, take the right fork for
about 150 yards and then turn right up the well signposted road to the
zoo, about a half hour walk. Alternatively, take a camioneta
(pick-up) which function as taxis - they charge around $1.50 for the 5
minute trip to the zoo and are usually quick to spot tourists
alighting from buses. There is sometimes a free bus
to the Zoo is $4 for adults.
Keep hold of your ticket for a discount on
entry to the excellent Vivarium in Parque La Carolina in Quito
Quito Zoo is closed
on Mondays, open until 5pm
the rest of the
week, with last ticket sales at 4pm. Weekday
mornings usually see enthusiastic primary school classes - the zoo
works with local
schools and offers some excellent educational materials.
Weekday afternoons are usually quiet at the zoo, but weekends
and bank holidays get very busy and are worth avoiding if your travel
schedule is flexible enough.
at Quito Zoo is mostly in Spanish, but there are sometimes
guides available. There is a little cafe at the zoo which
offers snacks, but is not
always open, so don't rely on being able to lunch there.
There is a picnic area. More information
(in Spanish) at www.quitozoo.org.
hat and water, as the weather in Guayllabamba is usually hotter and
drier than Quito.
excursion to Quito Zoo can easily be done in half a day from Quito, or
a side trip on the way to or from Otavalo
won't take more than a couple of
hours to enjoy what the zoo has to offer. When
you're finished, you can either walk back to the junction, or
wait and hope that
a camioneta turns up, or pay one of the ladies at the little shops by
the exit to phone for a camioneta for you. Enjoy your visit
to Quito Zoo!
Spanish Vocabulary for an excursion to Quito Zoo, Ecuador:
parque zoológico: zoo
Destinations: Quito Zoo
Half-day excursion from Quito to see some of the native birds and
Ecuador, including various endangered species cared for as part of
Quito Zoo's commitment to conservation.
of native fauna and
more common zoo animals.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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