The 10 Worst Zoos in the World

Jul 23, 2010
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.
A rhinoceros stands in its enclosure next to a dead elephant covered with a sheet in a Kiev Zoo. (Photo: Reuters Pictures)

Mystery deaths, animal smuggling, and cramped enclosures are just some of the problems plaguing the world's worst zoos, according to GlobalPost.

The 10 zoos that made the list are a far cry from the typical family-friendly places familiar to most Americans. They're horribly inhumane parks where animals are often on the verge of death. 

So where are these places?

They range from the predictable (North Korea) to the unexpected (San Antonio). And these zoos go far beyond the standard laundry list of small cages and under-feeding. Three of the most egregious findings:

  • Glkand Zoo, in Iraqi Kurdistan, caters to the post-Saddam elite who like to flaunt their status and wealth by amassing private menageries. And the more exotic the animal, the better. According to GlobalPost, the zoo owner openly admits to smuggling animals for wealthy families.
  • 51 animals died at the Kiev Zoo in Ukraine in 2008, and the animals continue to perish. But zoo officials are blaming a mystery man for poisoning the creatures. Zoo critics point out the deaths are probably related to unqualified zoo administration and poor living conditions.
  • The San Antonio Zoo has long garnered the ire of animal rights activists for keeping its sole elephant in solitary confinement in an enclosure that was too small for her. So what did zoo administrators do to fix the problem? They added another baby elephant—to create a "herd."

See the entire list at the GlobalPost website.

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