If you don’t know by now, I LOVE ANIMALS. Always have, always will. During my last trip to Israel, I was randomly invited to a bloggers event at the Ramat Gan Safari Zoo. This was a very unique experience because not only did I get to visit the zoo but I got to go behind the scenes and visit the on-site animal hospital, feed giraffes and on top of all that, I got to go on an African safari, only it wasn’t in Africa lol, it was in Israel!
Here is my vlog from the zoo! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel!
About the Ramat Gan Zoo
The Ramat Gan Zoo opened its doors in 1974. The Zoological Center in Tel Aviv- Ramat Gan is the largest collection of wildlife in human care in the Middle East. It’s a stunning 250-acre site which consists of both driving through the safari and the actual zoo.
A Wildlife Safari by the Side of the Freeway
Who would have ever guessed that there is a whole African wildlife Safari in Israel!?! I’m guessing most didn’t.
Ok, first of all, I am totally shocked that throughout my years of going back and forth and visiting Israel, I didn’t do this sooner! This place was MIND BLOWING TO ME! I mean these people created a full-on African safari in Israel, by the side of the freeway and it’s HUGE!
So here’s the thing, while growing up, I’ve lived in many places around the world, this also includes the city of Ramat Gan which is basically a 10-15min drive from Tel Aviv. When I was a kid, I remember going to this zoo a lot. I remember they had a “scary” lion safari, I vaguely remember ostriches and that’s about it.
What I didn’t know! Is that in order to get to the actual zoo, you had to drive through the wildlife Safari!
This was literally insane to me! Like you get to drive your own car, in an area full of wildlife animals straight out of Africa?! WHAT!
Totally insane! Like these animals are clearly not trained animals, which I’m not sure if that makes it cool or scary, maybe both at the same time since you’re driving your own car. I totally wasn’t prepared for that or remember that BUT I also haven’t visited this zoo since I was probably 6 years old, which is like 25 years.
What Animals I Saw
In the Safari part of the zoo, I found so many animals, it was insanely amazing! I got to see Zebras, Lions, Deers, Hippos, Rhinos, Ostrich and more! seriously mind-blowing. In the actual zoo.I saw all the typical animals you would normally see in a zoo like elephants, giraffes, African penguins and more.
I love animals, I always want to make sure they are well taken care of. So seeing the animal hospital was really neat, which normal people don’t ever get to visit. We got to learn how the on-site animal hospital help saves animals lives on a day to day bases that were injured throughout the country. Like people really call the zoo to pick up different animals they found injured on the streets and through hiking, which I really think is amazing.
I got lucky enough to feed the giraffes at the zoo and well that was pretty incredible too. Did you know that giraffes are vegetarians? The zoo also had a baby giraffe that was born not too long ago at the zoo. Super super cool. He was also hanging around his two parents seen in the photo above.
My Concerns – Animal Right
Because I love animals so much, I always try to make sure they are being treated right. I feel like it’s my job to let the world know where animals are being treated right and where they aren’t.
I will NOT be the girl who goes to Thailand and rides elephants or takes photos with tigers. Those animals are severely abused! … In case you didn’t know, which as it turns out, many people don’t know. The Tigers are beat and drugged daily, the elephants are also being beaten. I’m the girl who will go to animal orphanage center that helps animals and I have in India. I will never take any animal activity/excursion that abuses animal rights in any shape or form. It’s also why I didn’t visit the famous flamingo beach in Aruba and if you’re considering, don’t. The flamingos there were bought and put there to create attraction to the resort and had their wings cut off for that reason.
As far as this zoo goes, I’m not really fully sure how I feel about it which is why I wanted to go there and see the truth. I’m personally not so fond on zoos. I’d rather go to Africa or Asia and see them in the wild.
I met with the head of the zoo manager which is an woman, who is incredibly compassionate, good-hearted and kind and it’s written all over her face. These are animals are “her” animals, that’s how she always sees it. She basically lives there and loves every moment of it. She started off as a volunteer and worked her way up the latter, she was also the one who gave us a tour of the zoo. So I loved her and her passion to help and love animals.
I love the safari idea of it — animals running wild in 250-acre. I think it’s great and beautiful. I mean personally, if I were ever to go back, I’d honestly only go for the safari because after seeing the animals in the safari who wants to see them in cages.
I loved seeing the animal hospital. How they take care of animals no matter their size — birds, rats or a porky pine who broke his arms and legs, I think that’s all amazing.
BUT, first of all, I think all animals should run, wild and free and not in any cages.
Also, what I’m still questioning, or not so ok with is the lion section in the park. It’s a section that’s cut off from the rest of the safari although still on the same land. In order to get there, you have to go through the safari and through 2 electric gates that make sure the Lions don’t get out. Not only that but between the cars and the lions, there is another electric thin fence so that the lions don’t approach your car. I was told by a few people that have visited this place many times, that the fence will electrocute the lions if they tried to get out, THAT part, I’m SOOOO NOT OK WITH!
There were a few other things that just didn’t sit right with me but I didn’t know about them until I got there. Like is it really safe for the animals to have people drive their own cars to see them? What if they hit them? or abuse them? and no one will even see it.
I guess overall I am conflicted as to how I really feel about this place. On one hand, they are doing a lot to make sure the animals live in a healthy environment, but just not the lions? I’m sure they have their reasoning behind it but if this is the case, maybe they just shouldn’t have lions in their zoo. They also do alot of worldly research about animals and helping create a system to help stop animals from being extinct.
My good friend Mike over at Bemused Backpacker wrote an article on, “Why Zoos Are An Important Part Of Responsible Wildlife Tourism“, do you agree with him?
Tell me what you think in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!