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    « No chance to say goodbye to D.C.'s baby ducks | Main | The next Ron Howard film? Story about local pet sanctuary could be a blockbuster »

    May 30, 2011


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    MataHari Amano

    Hey, it's Tomoko. Thank you so much for taking us out the other day.
    Zoo... Yeah, I can see their effort, but they, well like many do, get it all wrong, I think. No life is above or below or less or more valuable. Simple imagination. If the wolves in the cage are your sister and brother, will you allow them to be treated like that? All lives are equally important and are connected in such a fine network. We must respect that in order to be respected back. =D
    Anyhow, thank you for your great hospitality and we hope to see you sometime soon!
    Much love & gratitude,


    I think that the more people learn about these awful places, the more they realize something MUST be done. The State of Maryland should step in here before matters get worse.
    Thanks for sharing/

    Wonok Kim

    It was very uncomfortable to see especially big wild animals like wolves, lions, and bears locked up within such small space. They all clearly looked mentally very sick. Wolves were circling around the same place again and again and lions kept howling as if they were expressing their pains. Sometimes torturing could be worse than killing and this makes me feel human beings are so selfish and cruel.

    I imagine every zoo must have challenges on space. I believe whoever operates truly love animals and would like to give people with more opportunities to experience the animal world. However, the good intent cannot justify the outcome of harming animals. Unless you have enough (at least reasonable size of) space to carry them, you should not have them locked up there. Think about what kind of message this can give to your children. It's okay to abuse animals as long as it entertains human beings?

    Jose Dominguez

    Thank you for this insightful post. Wow, this is really terrible. I agree having this zoo around does not seem to be helping anyone.


    You're a fucking idiot. you don't know shit about that zoo so don't open you're big fat mouth and say such degrading shit.

    Andrew Stewart

    I went there with my kids and quite enjoyed it. It is true, they are a small zoo with limited space. they are more like the zoos of the last century where few animals are afforded large natural habitat enclosures. That said, the enclosures aren't that much different than The National Zoo. Get off your high horse!


    I have visited the zoo over many years and have taken kindergarten classes there, as well. The zoo continues to grow and improve each year. Our family joined with a membership so we can go more often and enjoy it. The natural habitat of the whole area of the park makes a lovely setting to spend the day. The animals are in clean areas and are well cared for. I would like to see improvement for some animals; the wolves, mountain lion and the Sun bear, for examples need larger habitats to be more comfortable but it will take more funding, which I am supporting. I believe the writer does believe in zoos at all but as a teacher I value the accessibility to real animals. Oh, by the way, the deer, goats and other animals that beg for food ENJOY being fed. If you think they were demanding you should visit the koi pool where they will jump out of the water to have a treat, this isn't a sign of abuse. Your point of view is slanted and you should make it clear that NO zoo would be acceptable.

    Animal Safari

    Great posting! Thanks for making aware of this zoo and animals situation.

    Kate W

    I'm reading about $12,000 fines to this zoo and it makes me sad. The best facility in North America that I've seen is the Wild Animal Park in San Diego North County, CA. It's massive and every animal has so much space. If the animals are malnourished and living in poor habitats, then we need to send them to better zoos and shut the substandard ones down. I will avoid this zoo for sure. It sounds like a homing ground for circus animals (talk about another industry of animal abuse that needs to stop!)


    I just visited this zoo and found it quite shabby in some areas, with small enclosures, as others have said, for the sun bears. There's absolutely no stimulation for the bears, who are accustomed to climbing. And the tiny area for the constantly pacing wolves was indeed heartbreaking. Other areas are better. I'd rather see them have fewer animals and more space for the ones they have, instead of trying to fit so many species in as they are now. I'm sure the owners mean well and are struggling financially. I just hope they can improve conditions for the animals.


    "I have no reason to doubt the intention of the Hahn family."

    I DO. Quite a few years ago I sent Richard Hahn a letter of concern regarding the conditions of the breeding parrots. They had tiny cages, absolutely no toys or other stimulating objects, and inadequate diet.

    At the time I wrote the letter I hoped that whomever ran this place actually cared about animals and would remedy the situation now that they knew about it. No such luck!

    Instead, Mr. Hahn wrote back a letter full of defensiveness and lies. It was clear he had no concern for the welfare of Catoctin Zoo's animals, but only for covering his own behind. I was disgusted and never visited again. I am saddened but not surprised to read about the fines because of poor treatment of animals here. :-(

    Zoo Management

    Great! I am glad that you share this post and make aware of such things.


    And the Hahn family continues on and on with their lies. "to preserve, protect, educate" They tell us for years that the small wolf exhibit is but a temporary one, not intended as their permanent home. This same exhibit which allowed the wolves to dig through, get hold of the leg of a semi-crippled mountain lion and chew it to the point the lion had to be put down. Yes, the public got to witness this as well. They tell us that the wolves are all brothers and sisters, "from the same litter." But, they are fixed as "no responsible zoo would allow brothers and sisters to breed." Well, this year, two of the sisters had wolf pups sired by a brother. They have been put on exhibit. There are pictures on Facebook of them. And some are being sent to other zoos. Wonder if they (the other zoos) know the pup's true breeding? Yes, Catoctin Zoo is outstanding, outstanding in the lengths it will go to take advantage of their animals for profit while not providing them the care they deserve!

    C Sonnak

    I had family visiting us and wanted to do something fun and different . We decided to go to the zoo . We almost didn't go after reading all the neg comments . However we did and we were all so glad we did . It was clean and everything was easy to see . Bathrooms were well maintained bldgs also . I am already looking forward to going back again in the spring . Thank you for a wonderful day that we will remember .


    I don't think clean bathrooms quite make up for the miserable way Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo treats the animals there.

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