Limassol Zoo may be transformed into an ‘animal farm park’ after a proposal for its future was put to the city’s council.

The proposal was put forward by the Cyprus centre for environmental research and education (Cycere) and highlights the need for a “more animal-friendly approach” than that currently exercised at the zoo.

It speaks of “significant shortcomings and weaknesses” in the zoo’s operations at present, calling for an alternative approach.

In an animal farm park as outlined in the proposal, animals would be housed in “a friendly manner”, and the animals would be livestock, domestic animals and other animals native to Cyprus.

The list of planned animals at the park includes small goats, pigs, cows, horses, chickens and rabbits.

According to the proposal, the space would “emphasise the breeding and conservation of species without exhibiting animals in cages”.

With this in mind, the space will “function as an educational centre”, with visitors able to learn about “the importance of protecting animals and the environment”.

In addition, the proposal said members of the public “will also be able to participate in some activities with the animals”.

Some of the activities proposed include feeding animals, walking tours, animal photography, donkey rides, egg collecting, and cow milking.

The proposal also said the park could include an exhibition of native and non-native species, offering information on the ecosystem, animal behaviour, and the threats various species face in their natural environment.

It would also allow the gardens to offer programmes and activities which encourage people to interact with nature and learning through doing.

The zoo has come under fire in recent years due to issues with animal safety, with protesters having descended on the zoo at the end of 2022 and the start of 2023 to demand its closure.

Protesters at the time had described conditions in the zoo as “unacceptable slavery” and the “imprisonment of innocent animals”.

The protests began after a deer had died when its antlers were caught in a metal mesh.

Activists said the deer had suffered a “slow and agonising death”, which, they said, was evidence of “unacceptable negligence and irresponsibility” on the part of the people in charge.

It followed an incident involving a Savannah cat which had been “found dead” at the zoo after undergoing bowel surgery.-