History – Карельский зоопарк

Love of nature is inseparable from love for animals. Therefore, having the opportunity to support the diversity of fauna, in 2011 we founded the Karelian Zoo. Its location was not chosen by chance. Far from big cities (60 kilometers to the nearest town – Sortavala), on the quiet picturesque shore of Lake Yanisyarvi, surrounded by dense Karelian forests, we were able to create the most natural, but at the same time comfortable and safe habitat for our charges. During the construction of the zoo, we carefully preserved the local vegetation, leaving the natural terrain and water bodies untouched, because it is not possible to create a real value through destruction.

At the very beginning, the zoo was intended to be a park of hoofed animals, which we collected from all corners of our boundless homeland. And some of them came to us from abroad.

Variegated sika deer and graceful, proud marals arrived from Altai, hasteless bisons – from Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belavezha Forest). Their smaller relative, the charming Mishmi takin, moved from the Riga Zoo. Our family was constantly replenished with hoofed animals, thanks to cooperation with many zoos throughout the country.

Five years later we decided to acquire birds of prey. For this purpose, huge aviaries with an area of more than three hundred square meters were erected so that the feathered residents had at their disposal a warm room during the frosts, which the Russian north is famous for.

At the same time, the idea arose to shelter the first large predators. We built a pavilion with a comfortable walking area for a handsome male puma and for everyone’s current favorite, the tigress Cleopatra, who came to us from Crimea as a baby tiger.

We kept on expanding every year. The collection of pets was continuously replenished, and in 2019 the happy moment arrived for all of us: the Karelian Zoo, which has become the largest in the North-West of the country, was included into the Union of Zoos and Aquariums of Russia.

But it is not in our rules to rest on oars. Animals in need of a new home never end, and neither does our sincere desire to help them.

At the end of 2021, the director of the Three Bears zoo complex contacted us with a request to shelter a quartet of circus lionesses. The “girls” spent several months in cramped cages because the complex did not have the financial capability to provide them with normal living conditions and adequate, balanced nutrition. The predators needed to be urgently rescued. The management of our zoo decided to take them to Karelia and even organize a return to the stage. Now visitors of our zoo can enjoy a spectacular show where the rescued beauties play the main part.

And just recently, in the summer of 2023, residents of the neighboring village of Kharlu asked us to take back the escaped sika deer that were roaming their area. We were very surprised, because all our horned beauties were at their place. The deer were considered not belonging to anyone. So that the animals would not be harmed and calmness would return to the village, we decided to take the uninvited guests to the zoo territory. There’s enough space for everyone!

Today in our huge family there are already ninety species of animals and twenty species of birds. And the area of the zoo has grown to thirty hectares. Constant replenishments now occur not only from outside. In comfortable natural conditions, our charges create families and bear young, which we never cease to rejoice at, feeling a special responsibility for maintaining populations