Skazka Zoo in Yalta
The Skazka Zoo, located in the Ukrainian city of Yalta, has received more than a million visitors since opening in 1995. Established by local businessman Oleg Zubkov, Skazka means ‘Fairy Tale’, and is the realization of a dream to present animals from all over the world for the public, particularly children, to view and learn about. Also referred to as the Yalta Zoo, the park is home to more than 700 creatures, representing over 120 species of birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians and fish. Great care is taken to ensure comfortable living conditions for each inhabitant and the success of various breeding programs is an indication of the wellbeing of the animals. Babies born at the zoo include lion cubs, camels, raccoons, baboons, chimpanzees, tigers and macaques.
Skazka Zoo participates in a program put in place by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria which sets standards to adhere to when buying animals, especially from distant countries. The zoo also has a rehabilitation program to nurse injured or traumatized animals back to health. Some of the zoo’s more prominent residents are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, including the Siberian tiger, leopard, cheetah, Sumatran tiger, Asian black bear, black panther and European otter. Among the vast collection of birds at Skazka, protected species include the great white pelican, griffon vulture, black vulture, and Dalmatian pelican. A recent addition to the zoo is an albino California Kingsnake with two heads that reportedly respond separately and independent of one another.
Visitors to the zoo are permitted to feed the animals, but only the food that is provided for sale at the entrance. Prominently displayed signs identify each of the animals, and visitors may have the opportunity to touch some of them, as well as to have photographs taken with them. There is also a farmyard with ponies, pigs, sheep and goats that children can pet and feed.
The location of the zoo offers spectacular views of the Crimean Mountains and the picturesque city of Yalta. With meandering pathways and parks, cafés and gift shops, Skazka Zoo is the perfect venue for an enjoyable and educational family outing.