Glasgow Zoo: nothing left but memories
If you were a child in the 1990s and lived in the west of Scotland, chances are you have been to this fantastic zoo in the Calderbury Park area. And even if you’ve never set foot in this part of the world, there’s a very big likelihood that you have heard about the sad but wonderful story of one of the world’s most memorable zoological parks ever.
The Glasgow Zoo was once renowned by animal enthusiasts, tourist, environmentalists, and park managers alike as one of the most best-kept zoos in the world. It won awards, it was innovative and it was well-loved by its visitors. Located in an airy 40 hectare site in North Calder Water, the zoo was home to a variety of captive bears, tigers and lions that were all well-cared for and loved by the staff and the visitors.
The zoo’s staff members were famous for their ability to take care of the needs of the animals in such a way that life in the wild is simulated as closely as possible. Take, for example, the feeding techniques were devised especially to increase the physical activities of the different carnivores living in the zoo.
However, the glory days for the zoo ended in September 2003, when the management decided to close its gates for good due to rumors of mismanagement, secrecy and debts. Apart from this, the zoo has long been in financial straits and the limited funding from the Royal Zoological Society of Glasgow and West Scotland were not helping to improve the zoo’s condition.
The Glasgow Zoo had been in business since 1947 and had seen its share of highs and lows in turns of visitor turnout. At one point, the zoo was ushering 140, 000 families, animal lovers and guided tours through its gates, but profits from ticket sales apparently were not enough to keep the zoo open for much longer.
Rumors have it that the zoo’s total debt reached into 3 million pounds. As early as 1999, the management banked on selling off the zoo’s surplus land to pay off its liabilities and to keep the attraction running. However, delays in the planning permission prevented them from selling the land to interested housing developers.
Today, nothing but memories and ramshackle buildings stand in the place of the amazing Glasgow Zoo. Vandals, unconcerned developers in nearby areas and nature have all taken their toll on the structures that once housed the zoo’s proud array of animals. The animals have long since been transferred to other zoos to be taken care of.
This sad ending for what was once a popular attraction in the Canterbury area only means that city children and adults of later generations will no longer know what it’s like to see a chimpanzee climb a tree gracefully to get his lunch from the top, like they do at the old Glasgow Zoo.