Gone is that December 17, 1972 in which Parrot park It opened its doors with 150 parrots and 25 employees in 13,000 square meters, after overcoming many difficulties. Half a century later it has become one of the most recognized zoological institutions in the world and it has not stopped growing. Nearly a thousand people currently work there and the group has incorporated other companies such as Siam Park, Poemas del Mar, (Gran Canaria), Brunnelli’s, Hotel Botánico and the Loro Parque Foundation.
Yesterday, within the framework of its 50th anniversary, the zoo inaugurated two new facilities, The Grotto and Oceania, so that its visitors can experience ecosystems from around the world.
The first recreates a cave of Sebas fruit bats or short-tailed bats (Carollia perspicillata) with stalactites and stalagmites in which the visitor is separated from these mammals by glass that allows them to see them and appreciate their flight thanks to a very dim light. The exhibit is completely soundproof due to the sensitive nature of this species, which inhabits dry deciduous forests, generally below 1,000 meters in elevation, and feeds on a minimum of 50 species of fruits, pollen and insects.
On the contrary, the second is a large open aviary made up of five domes for Australian parrots, which coexist with the public and offer the opportunity to discover the main natural habitats of this country.
The opening of both facilities was attended by the president of Loro Parque, Wolfgang Kiessling, and founder together with his wife Brigitte; the vice president of the group, Christoph Kiessling; the mayor of Puerto de la Cruz, Marco González; the councilors for Tourism and Tourism Promotion and Commerce, Carolina Rodríguez and Roberto Medina, respectively, and the Bishop of the Diocese of Nivariense, Bernardo Álvarez, who blessed the new spaces, as well as the bust in honor of the park’s founders designed by the artists Vicki Penfold and Julio Nieto.
Previously, Wolfgang Kiessling offered a press conference in which he took stock of this half century. “The results in all this time have been good, but perhaps because both my wife and I have worked more for the company than for our private lives,” he declared.
He reviewed the main events experienced during all this time, among which he cited the COVID-19 pandemic, which Loro Parque managed to overcome despite the high electricity bills it had to face even with its doors closed.
Kiessling also stressed the importance of the International Parrot Congress, which is held every four years in the municipality and which this year celebrated its X edition with the participation of 800 experts from more than 45 countries.
Likewise, he referred to the numerous recognitions that Loro Parque has, such as the Plaque and the Gold Medal for Tourism Merit awarded by the Government of Spain, the Gold Medal of the Canary Islands Executive, that of the Cabildo de Tenerife and that of the Centro of Tourism Initiatives of Puerto de la Cruz (CIT). In turn, it was named Best Zoo in the World at the Travelers Choice Awards for two consecutive years in the category of attractions and subcategory zoos and has been recognized with the Prince Philip Award for Business Excellence. In addition, it is the only zoo in Europe that has the Human Certified Animal Welfare Certification from the American Humane entity.
The activists and the work carried out by the Foundation deserve a separate chapter, which allocates 1.5 million to conservation projects for different wild species and their habitats, and from which twelve species have been saved from extinction.
For his part, Marco González said that one cannot “ignore what Loro Parque represents for the city and highlighted “the empire” generated by the Kiessling family. He thanked him for his commitment to the society of Porto, which he has recently given the opportunity to visit its facilities for free, “which are part of the identity” of the municipality.
Along these lines, the mayor stressed that “Puerto de la Cruz has many names and surnames of people we recognize many times, such as César Manrique, but without a doubt these 50 years highlight that Wolfgang Kiessling must be recognized for the vision he had in its day and for having turned Loro Parque into the group it is today”.
Brad F. Andrews, Zoological Director Emeritus of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Honored with 2022 Gorilla Award
Brad F. Andrews was awarded yesterday with the Gorilla Award, which has been awarded by Loro Parque for 19 years for his contributions to animal welfare and species conservation. Andrews is currently the Global Director of American Humane’s Conservation Program. During the ceremony, held at the Hotel Botánico, the winner declared that “it was a great honor to receive this Gorilla award and see how my long career in favor of animal welfare is recognized.”