The Wuhan Zoo: Lions and Tigers and Pandas, Oh my!

05 February 2013

When I went to China last summer I knew there was one thing I had to absolutely do before I returned to America: see a panda bear. Thus, you can imagine I was completely elated when I learned that Wuhan had a zoo. I tried to get the other interns to join me but in the end there were just two of us that made the trip over to the Hanyang district to check out the zoo on one of our days off.

I had read some poor reviews of this zoo but I was trying to be optimistic. Upon entering, the first bits of scenery were picturesque: a large expansive lake with a decorated bridge took you to the island which held the actual zoo. Along the way you can feed black swans.

Filth covered the glass of the exhibit
Once on the island we headed to the first exhibit, the penguins. This is where the beauty of the park began to fade. Right away, we noticed the dismal state of the exhibit which carried on through many of the others. Trash from visitors were all across the cages, the ostriches looked sickly, tigers were packed into tiny concrete cells and some animals even roamed freely out of their cages.

This peacock was supposed to be in the exhibit to the left
I guess I shouldn't have expected much, considering the entrance fee was only 20 yuan (roughly $3.50). That sort of income doesn't provide much for upkeep. And, if the sad state of the exhibits wasn't enough to make you feel upset, the other visitors taking pictures of you (Oh, look! A foreigner!!) will definitely make you feel disgusted, as if you're being treated as one of the animals at the zoo.

This guy bit me!
There were, however, some enjoyable parts of the zoo. The aviary was very nicely maintained and housed many beautiful birds. As well, on certain days you can see them fly around in a larger arena and perform. And of course, my favorite part was the panda bear!

I wish my camera hadn't started dying right at this moment so I could have recorded the panda bear (named Du Du) making an adorable hiccuping/growl noise. However, the prison like bars and the crowd of people pushing against the tiny enclosure to see took away from the moment a bit.

In all, if someone were to ask me if they should go to the Wuhan zoo I would recommend going to one somewhere else in China if you can. The Beijing Zoo is world famous for its beauty and seems to treat its animals much more humanely. I was sadly disappointed with state of the Wuhan zoo and its only redeeming quality was the fact that I got to see a panda.

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  1. I love zoos and going to see all of the animals. It makes me so sad to see and hear the way that this zoo treats its animals.

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    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

    1. It is unfortunate but at least the animals seemed healthy (other than the ostriches).

  2. I'm a big animal fan and like to visit safari and conservation sactunarys, even did a skydive to raise money for Monkey World (an ape rescue centre) in Dorset, England.
    I can't bring myself to visit many Zoo's anymore, especially in other country's. This looks so sad for the animals :(

    1. Yeah, it really was in a bad state. Cultural differences :\

  3. I would never recommend anyone to visit Zoo in China. If you want to see Pandas go to CHengdu.

    1. Yes, I hear they have a very good sanctuary there. It's pretty far from the main attractions in China, though!