What are the differences between a zoo and a zoo?

That was in September 2021. La Barden Zoo, the largest zoo in Provence, has been renamed La Barden Animal Park. “This name change reflects its evolution and becomes a full-fledged player in the conservation of species and biodiversity,” management welcomed in a press release. And Louis Pons, its manager, added in the local press that this new name aims to provide an “image adapted” to the habitat of the 120 animal species present on the site. “The parks have modernized, expanded their enclosures and offered structures tailored to the needs of the species they host.” These statements say pretty much everything about the slight differences between a zoo and a zoo. If the first would belong to the past, the second would in advance offer more well-being to the residents. But in the end, the device stays the same. It’s all about communication.

Legally, there is no difference between a zoo and a zoo

In the eyes of the law, the 300 French zoos, or parks, must in fact all respect the decree of 24 March 2004, supplemented by the Rural Law and the Environmental Law. These French legal texts do not distinguish between a zoo and a zoo. For example, both must have an enclosure larger than 1.80 m to both “guarantee human safety” and also “prevent escape of the housed animals”. In relation to the size of the enclosures, the legislature does not set a minimum area. He confines himself to explaining that “the animals must be kept under high-level breeding conditions (…) by making especially facilities and equipment available for the enclosures adapted to the biology of each species”.

To ensure this in any case, agents from the Department of Population Protection Directorates (DDPP), which are dependent on the prefectures, carry out regular checks. Zoos and zoos also adhere to strict specifications both in terms of health and species well-being.

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Is the offer and mission of a zoo different from a zoo?

Do the nuances then slip into the offer to the public and the operation? If zoos for years tended to house livestock species (bison, donkeys, horses, ostriches, etc.), without necessarily having a large diversity of inhabitants, it must be admitted that today they are more and more similar to the picture we have of zoos. where a wide variety of animals, especially wild ones, live together. It is e.g. the case of La Barden.

On the mission side, it is difficult to establish a significant difference here again. Both zoos and zoos promote animal protection to the general public. They study them, push for their reproduction and work to protect biodiversity, especially by dealing with endangered species, although some environmental NGOs still question their interest.

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Just an evolutionary marker

So what ? Are zoos and zoos the same? Yes. Apart from one detail: The concept of a park has a better image with the public. The brand is more modern and involves more space for the animals. Over the centuries, it must be said that zoos have evolved in this direction. A turning point occurred especially in the 1970s with the abandonment of bars in favor of windows in the enclosures. Most companies have tried to erase all marks of retention such as grids. The revegetation has even been amplified to make it more natural. Renaming oneself to a zoo is therefore part of the facelift. Do not let the visitor make a mistake.

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