Behind the Story: Lujan Zoo, Argentina

If you Google “Lujan Zoo” you will find many disparaging comments buried within all the links of praise. One such idiotic article is on International Business Times. While not the only story I found decrying Lajun Zoo, it is the most blatant…and idiotic.  MORE OF THE STORY FOLLOWS THE IMAGES.

Sometimes you just have to shake your head at how ignorant some people can be.

In June 2012, Ale and some friends visited Lajun Zoo in Argentina. While not unique, it is rare and different from most zoos you’ve ever run across.

Unlike sterile zoons found all over the U.S. and the majority of the world, Lajun is a zoo where you can pet the animals. Sure, there are lots of petting zoos for children in America. Places where the precious little tykes can touch a sheep, a goat, maybe a pony or two and even run after some chikens.

But at Lajun it’s “lions and tigers and bears” and more. Sorry, kiddies, you can’t enter the cages with tigers, you’re too young and you don’t listen to your parents.

For adults, Lajun can be a treat…something they have never done before and probably never will do again.

Then along comes people like Rebecka Schumann who want to screw it up.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Like I said, Lajun is a place that Ale had visited with some friends. One night over dinner we got to talking about different things to see and do around Argentina and the subject of the zoo was brought up.


Thinking it would make a good story for one of my media clients, we contact the zoo officials and made plans to go.

And I’m glad we did.

Before heading out to Lajun I did a little research and reading on this “encounter zoo”. I found a many people like Ms. Schumann. In the article mentioned above, she breathlessly has as a title “World’s Most Dangerous Zoo, Lujan Zoo in Argentina….”.

There’s nothing dangerous about Lajun. It’s probably more dangerous to climb into your bathtub tonight than it is to enter one of the cages at the zoo. In nineteen years of existence, there has NEVER been one accident with a “wild animal” at Lajun despite the millions of visitors they have had over the years.

The animals are happy, well fed and given lots of love, attention and affection by trained keepers.

To make sure the animals stay happy and healthy, the zoo has a full time biologist and TWO veterans permanently, full-time on their staff.

While Ale and I were given the run of the place for about twelve hours, we never saw any animals mistreated, in a foul mood or have a “vacant stare” like I had seen in the eyes of animals at The National Zoo in Washington D.C. when I shot there a few years ago.

A perfect example of how Schumann shows her total ignorance of Lujan, in the article I referenced she says, “The zoo also lets tourists hand-feed full-grown brown bears”.

Brown bears? Lady, those ain’t brown bears. Those are GRIZZLIES.

If someone doesn’t know a brown bear from a grizzly, then that kind of hurts their credibility when they try to write a piece about the “worlds most dangerous zoo”.

Especially when they’ve never it.

Heck, I bet she’s never been to Argentina.

 Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America.  His latest book of photography, Suenitos tells the story of the only daycare inside the dangerous Hidden City.  Now based in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe.  Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today. Follow this link to read more of his work on Huffington Post and Examiner.  Have a story that needs to reach national media?  Email him today.


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