It’s hard to believe it, but we have been at home for more than a month already. It hasn’t been very hard so far… I’ve tried to be busy, taking photos of all the spring signs that appear every day, preparing my terrace for the new season, taking care of my plants and flowers, cooking and baking, reading, learning German, talking with my family in Spain and even working out at home!

I’ve also been editing photos. The ones from this post are from a week before we decided to start our own lock down. We just came back from Amsterdam and I was a bit cold, but I didn’t want to stay at home when the sun was shinning. Instead, we visited the Goldau Tierpark, a small zoo in Canton Schwyz with animals representing the Swiss wildlife, from cute little squirrels to brown bears and wolfs. I confess that I’m not sure if I like zoos or not. I prefer to see wildlife in its natural habitat, of course. There’s nothing compared to the feeling of spotting a deer or a fox in nature! But when I go hiking, those scarce encounters usually happen when I don’t have the appropriate lens attached to my camera and I usually miss the photo opportunity… A shame! I don’t love the idea of zoos, specially those very small where animals are in tiny enclosures that look more like a cage. But I reckon that some zoos are great in conservation efforts of some endangered species and take great care of their animals, and they also have a great pedagogical role. And for a photographer, they offer an opportunity to learn how animals behave. Of course, behaviours are not exactly like in the wild, but there’s still a lot to learn!

Goldau Tierpark surprised me. The space is big, in a beautiful forest with a large pond for different kinds of water birds, and there are even parts of the park where animals like sika deer, feral goats, mouflon and squirrels roam free and children can feed them. I soon forgot where I was and I enjoyed the hours we spent in the park, just taking photos of all the animals we could see that day (we missed a few that were still hibernating).

Here are some of the photos I took that day. I hope you like them!


  1. Great wildlife images. They don’t look like they were in a zoo at all! I think the accredited zoos serve a purpose. They educate people about animals and help some animals that couldn’t survive in the wild. Our local zoo is closed now and facing financial hardship. Without people coming in, they don’t have the revenue to keep the place running. The animals have to be cared for no matter what. I’m just hoping that when this pandemic is over, we still have our wonderful small zoo. Let’s see some of the flowers on your terrace!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil, Anne!! The good thing about this zoo is that some animals roam freely in a big forested area, so it’s easier to photograph them without fences or any sign of where they are. And that day the light was still soft during the morning, so I got nice photos of the deer 🙂
      Here in Switzerland zoos are closed too… Well, like everything else except grocery stores, pharmacies and banks… I’m not sure here they’ll face financial hardship, or as much as in other places (I’m thinking about the small nature reserve that we have in Zurich. They don’t even sell tickets, just charge for the parking when you go on your own car. It’s mostly maintain with help from the state and private organizations). I hope the zoo in Sacramento survives this crisis! I can’t imagine how sad it would be for this kind of institutions to close and send their animals to other places far away…
      Uuummm, maybe I’m already working in a second part of “flowers in my terrace” series, hehehe. I’m already waiting for the second wave of spring flowers to bloom!! 🙂
      Take care and stay healthy, Anne!! Big hug from Switzerland!

  2. Fabulous captures, Mercedes! That yawning wildcat made me smile. 🙂 🙂 So long as the animals have good space and natural surroundings. What chance would some of them have in the wild?

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil Jo!! The cat was just waking up from its nap in the winter sun… that day was sunny and very warm and a lot of animals seemed to enjoy the winter sun that day! They looked so relaxed sunbathing! 🙂

      Well, except for wolves and bears (they were extinct in Switzerland until recently, when some wolf packs and three bears came through the mountains and established in the Swiss Alps), all animals in this park are typical Swiss wildlife (foxes, deer, steinbock, mountain hare…), so you can find them in the wild (not easily, of course, but there they are!). Some of them have been at the edge of extinction, but efforts make in this kind of parks have helped to improve the numbers of these species in the wild… So apart from their pedagogic purpose, these zoos help also to maintain these species. I don’t have any complain about that!! And in this case, animals have space and look healthy and playful, so I guess they are well… I was thinking on smaller zoos when I was writing this post. Last time I was in New York I visited the small zoo in Central Park and I didn’t like it… So so so small….!

  3. These photographs of wild life are incredible. And it you wouldn’t have said it was a zoo/wild park, I would not have guessed. I’m like you, not happy with small caged zoos. Animals should be in the wild, in their habitat. After 3 months in lockdown, now I know how it’s feels to be locked away in a small space. Cannot imagine what it feels like for life for these animals. But they play a role in conservation when we are destroying so much of their habitat. Wish more zoos were like this one, huge area a where animals are able to roam free. Thank you for all the photographs.

    • mercedescatalan

      During lockdown I read a few articles about illegal zoos and places in the USA where they have tigers and wild animals to organize photo shots with tourists… It is so so so sad to see these wild animals in such poor conditions! Some of them just care about the animals while they are small and after that,, they are left in the poorest conditions or are even mutilated so they don’t grow up dangerous and attack visitors… It makes me cry!!!
      But I recon that some other zoos do an amazing work educating and in conservation. Those I don’t mind visit… Animals aren’t still in their natural habitat, but it’s incredible to see how these places try to recreate the natural conditions where these animals live in the wild and how they try to reproduce some species so they can reintroduce them in nature when numbers are falling rapidly. And how many children start loving wildlife and nature and respect them after a first visit to one of these zoos?

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