Petting zoo at Zatulinsky amusement parkBack to list
Today the children's petting zoo – a place where urban children, who are not used to communicate with wild nature, have opportunity to pat a lamb, touch a hedgehog, feed a rabbit and ride on a pony – has opened in the Kirovsky district. Igor Dolozov, the head of Zatulinsky amusement park, has told why this opening was waited for by thousands of people.
«Last year we launched a campaign to collect signatures. It is very difficult for the park, which is located in a dormitory area, to correspond to city level parks. We thought about how to make our park special, attractive for people, how to make them visit our zoo. The idea of such «nature corner» appeared long time ago; during one of the business trips to the Krasnoyarsk Zoo «Roev Ruchey» we realized that this is exactly what we need. As in any project, it all depends on funding; to facilitate the task, we decided to combine the idea of the petting zoo and the idea of the children's playground reconstruction in two priority projects for this year. We collected ten thousand signatures, attracted deputies to the project, participated in the competition for the governor subsidy and won it. Actually, these funds are used for the petting zoo construction and for amusement park reconstruction. At the same time we solved a very important problem of the park illumination – the territory was not illuminated at all during the hours of darkness for a long time.
Now ten animal species are presented in our zoo: chickens, geese, pony, cow, donkey, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits and a hedgehog. We don't plan to expand the number of species, but, perhaps, we will supplement or replace existing ones with new types. Perhaps, we will make an exception and import reindeers – now we consult about this issue, but it is difficult enough, because they need special conditions.
We chose the most unknown and the safest animals for children. The petting zoo assumes, that child will feed and pat inhabitants, so it should be safe. We selected animals in specialized farms, all of them have necessary quarantine certificates. The quarantine service of Novosibirsk controls carefully compliance with rules, and it disciplines so much.
The Petting Zoo is a necessary and important project. Firstly, it is very useful for harmonious development of children, secondly, communication with animals calms children, that is significant moment, because every day the huge flow of information falls upon them.
Now our zoo is designed for operation only in summertime, but we plan to operate all the year round since 2014. Also we have a great interesting project named «Chill out with use!». Under this project more than three thousand children can visit amusement park and our zoo for free. First of all, these children are from socially disadvantaged population groups or left without parental care. They will come here by groups, and zoo tours will be organized for them. In future, perhaps, we will create tour program for other children too.
There are several centers in Novosibirsk, which are engaged in a hippotherapy (a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy in which a therapist uses characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded motor and sensory input); there are special exercises and techniques. We won't be engaged in it, but we focus on creation of positive emotions and plan to use instructor service to control the communication of children with animals. This year we hope to find a person, who will be engaged in zootherapy. Specially for this purpose we have prepared the ground for group classes, for instance, pony riding.
As for our stuff, it is fully completed. There are veterinary physicians, livestock specialists, technical stuff, who take care of animals and maintain order of the zoo territory. We also have plans to organize in June the club of young naturalists – children will have opportunity to come to us, look after animals and receive theoretical knowledge. We cooperate with zootechnical faculty of Novosibirsk State Agrarian University and the city zoo – they advise us about development of animal maintenance technology, and their recommendations are really very valuable to us.
And some words about our target audience. We focus on children of preschool and primary school age, but there are no restrictions. The lowest age limit is the child in mother’s belly; the upper limit also doesn’t exist. As for people`s interest, it became obvious, when great quantity of people put their signatures in support of this project; and each child who now walks in the park, was waiting for this zoo to open.»