The San Juan de Aragon Zoo

I had no idea that Mexico City had two major zoos. I’ve been to Chapultepec Zoo, the more famous (by far) of the two and marvelled in a sarcastic way at the terribly cramped conditions that they keep their animals in. The Aragon zoo, I think, is a slightly better place, with more space. But it’s still not what a lion, elephant, giraffe or sealion could call ‘home’. But with the huge amount of parkland and playgrounds it is a kids paradise. And they were there in plentiful numbers, several of whom accosted me, demanding I speak English to them. I replied with a smile and ‘Ich spreche Deutsch’ , and they departed, a little confused and disappointed. I might as well make my newfound German ‘status’ work for me. And I allow myself one act of evil every day to balance out any acts of good I might do.

But anyway, the zoo. Yes, you could make a pleasant afternoon visit of the place. It’s free to get in and is very close to Metro Bosque de Aragon. I couldn’t find a suggestion box, but if you do, mention that the turtles are clearly not happy living in the puddle they’ve been provided with. Click here to see my photos.  

11 thoughts on “The San Juan de Aragon Zoo

  1. I can’t see this. It breaks my heart. These aren’t the conditions they should be in. If they can’t be left in their natural habitat, can’t they at least try to emulate those conditions and give them some appropriate space? I’m going to stop here, before I go on one of my zoo rants….

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  2. Sorry, but I totally disagree about the Chapultepec Zoo — it’s terrific! Certainly, there are exhibits that need some updating, but I saw exactly zero animals that were “suffering”. Then again, I happen to recognize the difference between human beings and animals. The latter do not recognize concepts like “liberty” and “freedom”, thus they do not mind living a leisurely life in a zoo, where all their needs are provided for them.

    As for the San Juan Aragon Zoo, I went there too, and enjoyed it as well. There is one very old section which I hope they will either fix up or close soon. But the other 2/3 of this small zoo was great.

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America’s Best Zoos

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    1. Allen, to reduce the impact of animals living in zoos as negligible or non existant based on their understanding of the concepts of liberty and freedom is naive to say the least.

      Stereotypy and other psychological disorders suffered by animals due to their living conditions within a captive environment are well documented. Some animals cope better than others, and whilst many captive animals can expect longer lifespans in the predator free environment of a zoo (with the additional benefits of medical care on hand, and stable diets), many do not.

      Elephants are a good example, where the stress of living outside of a proper herd and without the natural roaming space they require contribute to captive individuals having an average lifespan shorter by decades.

      The further you reduce the ‘liberty and freedom’ of animals, the more apparent the distress. You need only look up dancing bears that live their lives chained to a post.

      As far as Chapultepec Zoo is concerned, an elephant there was clearly displaying signs of stereotypy. Until recently, anyway. It died. As for the other animals….did you ask any of them how they felt?

      My greater area of knowledge would be with turtles. I will be so bold as to state as fact that the living arrangements made for the turtles of both zoos, Chapultepec and Aragon, were not anywhere near meeting the basic requirements of these animals.

      I will say that I am not anti-zoo full stop. As institutions they could/do greatly benefit endangered species, allow the general public the opportunity to see these wonderful creatures, and conduct research that is invaluable to science and the future management of wildlife areas in general. But they must place the interests of the animals first, and visitors a very distant second. That, sadly, happens too infrequently.

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  3. I’ve tend to tell people who’ve tried to chat in English that I’m from Wales. Doubly evil for playing on the fact that so many people don’t know that Wales is part of the UK?

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  4. P.S-

    Talk about animal cruelty.

    Ok, ok…got it out of my system. After being locked all day in a courtroom and serving as a juror…I needed to lighten thing’s up and mindlessly amuse myself. Ahem. That is all.

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      1. It’s a civil case (the kind of cases most people find boring!), but its still going on and we’re hearing witnesses and experts etc..Plenty of “objection your honor!” and “Your Honor he’s badgering the witness..” going on. Today proved more exciting than yesterday, if only because the attorney’s and an expert were nearly ready to “rummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmble”. Anywho, I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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