The “Adopt me!” campaign seeks patrons for animals which do not receive enough public attention. Credit:

Prague Zoo Reveals Its Six “Animal Orphans of 2023”

Prague Zoo has revealed its animal orphans of the year 2023 for this Advent season. The traditional “Adopt me!” campaign seeks patrons for unjustly neglected animals. The six “orphan” species include mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, which do not receive enough public attention. Supporting them is a popular Christmas gift, both to the recipient, and to the animals themselves.

“At the end of the year, we traditionally present so-called animal orphans to the public. It is not only about finding supporters for their breeding, but at the same time we can introduce lesser-known or overlooked animal species,” said the director of Prague Zoo, Miroslav Bobek. He believes that every animal has something special about it and deserves people’s interest. “Gorillas, wombats, and sea lions attract the majority of the attention. Now we’re trying to get it to less attractive animals.”

Adoption or sponsorship of animals is a long-standing popular product of Prague Zoo. The adoptive parent becomes a member of the zoo’s friends club, and is invited to important social events, such as the season opening ceremony in the spring, the annual celebration in September, and the sponsors’ meeting in December. So which animals are looking for their patrons this year?

The Common Gundi is the furriest of the orphans. It is characterised by its compact body, large eyes and exaggerated skin, creating folds that evoke a Shar Pei dog. These desert rodents inhabit the “Africa Pavilion” up close, where visitors can often see them huddled together basking under a heat lamp.

Common Gundi. Credit:

The rarest animal on the list is the cagou. This New Caledonian endemic may resemble a heron, but in reality it has no close relatives. It can’t fly, because it was never originally threatened by predators in its homeland. With the arrival of Europeans, rats and cats were introduced to the islands, and the cagou is now an endangered species. In the zoo, this graceful bird is an absolute rarity due to its excellent pair fidelity.

Cagou. Credit:

There are never enough crested cockatoos, so this year, the “Red-tailed black cockatoo” also got its space. The elegant Australian species breaks the general stereotype of white cockatoos – it is black with transverse orange ripples, and colourful tail feathers. According to indigenous mythology, these lovers of eucalyptus seeds herald the arrival of the rains with their loud calls. In Prague Zoo, they inhabit “Darwin’s Crater.”

Red-tailed black cockatoo. Credit:

The traditional campaign has an unusually wide representation of winged birds this year; the “Wattled Jacana” is not only a fascinating species, but also has a “superpower”. Thanks to its exceptionally long toes, it distributes its weight and can walk on aquatic vegetation, e.g. on water lilies. Those interested can see it carefully walking on the water surface in the “Reed pavilion”.

Wattled Jacana. Credit:

Another seemingly neglected species is actually newly bred at the Prague Zoo. The “Amazon Basin emerald tree boa” is just starting to look for its adoptive parents. This beautiful snake can be seen for the first time in the “Terrarium pavilion”. The emerald green boa constrictor boasts the longest teeth of any non-venomous snake!

Amazon Basin emerald tree boa. Credit:

Advent includes fairy tales, miracles and fulfilled wishes, so it is appropriate to include one “goldfish” among the orphans, the so-called Bleher’s goldfish. In addition to its colouring, the nimble fish is also attractive due to its conspicuously high back, especially in males. Even so, it was only discovered by science in 1982. A flock of goldfishes in Prague Zoo is living in the aquarium of the “Indonesian jungle”.

Bleher’s goldfish. Credit:

In addition to animal orphans, you can also choose from hundreds of other animal species kept at the Prague Zoo. You can easily fill out the adoption or sponsorship form on the Prague Zoo website.

Prague Zoo Reveals Its Six “Animal Orphans of 2023”
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