Starting next month, animals long held captive at the 45-acre urban zoo will begin to be relocated to wildlife reserves to live out their lives closer to how nature intended. A handful of animals deemed unfit for release will remain on the site, but kept under more sanctuary-like conditions.
These unprecedented reforms, officials say, signal a shift in the way we regard nonhuman life.
"We want a focus on promoting environmental education, but do not want the animals to pay the cost of that education with their sustained presence in an area in the middle of the city," wrote the city's Modernization Minister, Andy Freire. "In embarking on this path, we also wish to serve as an example for other zoos to follow in making a similar change."