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by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer
While Jamaica does not have many wild animals, the ones we do have make for an interesting day at the zoo, reserve or sanctuary while you are here.
The Hope Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Kingston Jamaica. Since 1961, the Hope Zoo has been the main attraction for those hoping to see native and exotic wildlife first-hand. The Hope Zoo also operates as a wildlife rescue and conservation in Jamaica.
Alongside NEPA and other government agencies, Hope Zoo rescues and rehabilitates injured birds and reptiles around the island.
One of their most notable endeavours is their efforts to preserve and increase the Native Iguana population in Jamaica. So far, 500 iguanas have been released to their natural habitats!
There are over 1,000 animals to see here, so boredom is definitely out of the question at the Hope Zoo. This impressive lineup has donkeys, camels, snakes, birds, reptiles and turtles, flamingos, emus, and of course lions.
Going through all the fascinating local and international residents here would take forever, plus I think I should leave some as a surprise when you visit.
Does the name Kananga ring any bells for you? Well if it does, you will be excited to know that our next adventure takes us to the Jamaica Swamp Safari where the famous crocodile scene in Live and Let Die was shot! It is one of our James Bond attractions in Jamaica.
The crocodile safari is located on 50 acres of mangrove land in the rural parish of Trelawny. While the crocodiles are the main attraction, with their acrobatic leap from the murky waters to the air for their food, the safari also introduces its guests to other animals as well.
Shakira, the only green Anaconda on the island can be found here as well as the Jamaican coney bird which is so rarely seen it was thought to be extinct some time ago. The Jamaica Swamp Safari is one of the few places where you can see crocodiles at various growth phases; from hatchlings to massive fully grown adults, like Bigga the leader of the swamp.
Buddy, the tour guide and crocodile expert will impress you with his knowledge and bravery as he tells you all about the crocs from inside the habitat. Don’t worry you are expected to watch from a distance.
You can hold a baby crocodile at the end though if you wish.
Sticking with our Crocodile theme, the Black River Safari provides a whole new experience. This time you’ll meet Terrorist, and the gang on your trip up the Black River on a boat.
Not only will you learn impressive crocodile facts but, you will also learn about the Black River as well. The nursery houses the crocodiles who have been injured and need time to recover as well as baby crocodiles and turtles. You might get to hold one!
I don’t have to tell you why we are heading to this one, right? The dolphin cove is the best place to see, learn and swim with dolphins in Jamaica. There are also other sea friends to get familiar with as well. The sharks and stingrays are just as exciting to see.
Take a tour of the grounds to see talking parrots, the native Jamaican iguana, and other birds and reptiles as well. You might even get to feed an ostrich.
Don’t forget your swimwear as this attraction is located on the stunning north coast in Ocho Rios. If you can’t make it to the flagship location, then there are locations in Montego Bay and other parts of St. Ann as well.
I have never felt more at peace, than when we visited the Rockland’s Bird Sanctuary, which is quite ironic since it is located just outside the otherwise hectic Montego Bay. Here you will be surrounded by trees and the cawing of birds while looking out at the beautiful coastline you just left in Montego Bay.
Mr. Fitz and Kimani will introduce you to the 16 birds on the property, many of which are among the 25 Jamaican endemic species. You won’t see them in cages either, they are allowed to fly freely around the property which I absolutely love.
Seeing and feeding the Jamaican national bird, the Swallowtail Hummingbird or Doctor Bird as we call it is a treat, be sure to have your camera ready to capture the moment.
These zoos and wildlife reserves in Jamaica are among my favourite attractions on the island. Which one are you most excited to visit?
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Zoos In Jamaica | Written: November 30, 2022