South Estonia wildlife park visitor numbers at coronavirus-era high
A South Estonia wildlife park posted record visitor figures in 2020, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday night.
In spite, or perhaps because of, the pandemic, the Elistvere wildlife park on the Tartu County-Jõgeva County borders has seen a little short of 80,000 visitors in the past year, a spokesperson told AK.
"Our visitor numbers have risen nicely in the past year, it's true," said the park's information manager Elle Mäerand.
"There have been about 79,000 visitors this year...weekends and holidays bring the larger numbers to the site, with weekday visits a bit more modest," she told AK.
One of the park's biggest draws is the park's resident bear, Karoliina (see picture), who has not been hibernating this winter unlike others of her species, which may in part be the result of high visitor through-flow.
Other animals on show include wolves, the only ones on display in Estonia, including the park's newest resident, a wolf brought last year from Latvia and named "Coronius" in honor of our times.
Also on show are several rats, more specifically brown rats, the species more commonly bred for pets, as opposed to the black rats seen as a pest in areas of human habitation.
The rats' keeper Janne Kase told AK that despite their dubious reputation and consequent public unease at being in their presence, the rats are very friendly and do not bite.
Recent weather conditions have transformed the nature park into somewhat of a winter wonderland, which has also ensured healthy visitor numbers, AK reported.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte