Valladolid, Yucatán — Two years ago, German-born entrepreneur Paul Gotthold Beutelspache was leading a private tour of a zoo he was developing on his private ranch.
A 10-year-old pointed and asked what one of the animals was. It was a duck. How could a child of that age not know ducks? The point was made. VallaZoo’s educational mission is filling a void.
The culmination of many years of work is paying off, with a free teaching zoo soon to be open to the public.
Beutelspache has been transforming his 36-acre ranch Blanca Flor into parkland with 100 species of native animals, 50 exotic plants, and three man-made lakes. It is due to open to the public sometime in the middle of the year.
For now, invited guests have been seeing much progress. Visitors first encounter a community of green and striped iguanas in a large farm that reflects their natural habitat. Then there are tepezcuintles, turkeys, goats, rabbits, cows, donkeys, ducks, wild boars, bald pig and several birds of the region. A herd of docile, white-tail deer mingle with pheasants.
Workers are working on a reforestation of jabín, cedar, ramon, flamboyanes among others trees.
But perhaps the main attraction is the crocodile breeding farm in one of the three artificial lakes. Eight adult crocodiles feed on carp.
A future phase of development will bring in spider monkeys, coyotes and a pair of jaguars.