Split, Croatia’s second largest city, is situated on the Adriatic coastline and is one of the country’s most popular vacation destinations thanks to its location and historic monuments, some of which date back to the Roman times. While tourists have often been satisfied with their visit to Split, one particular attraction – the Split Zoo – has left many visitors disturbed.

A number of low-level reviews have been left about the unaccredited zoo on TripAdvisor, with one visitor stating, “This is by far the worst zoo I have ever seen … The bears had … feces everywhere … and the food being given to the animals looked like it was completely rotten … Someone please shut this place down and send the animals somewhere else!!!”

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Another reviewer reported, “The zoo in Split is located at the very top of the Marjan Hill and can be reached by foot from the old town in about 20 – 30 minutes. Unfortunately, on the top of the hill, you will find a very sad place and tears may easily wet your eyes.”

For years, animal protection groups in Croatia have been trying their best to shut this zoo down, deemed the “worst zoo in the world” by tourists for its poor care of animals and small, dirty enclosures.

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Nonprofit advocacy group Animal Friends Croatia sent a letter to Split’s city authorities urging them to close the zoo in both 2005 and 2012, calling it a “genuine animal torture space” in their 2005 letter.

After years of pressure and a recent exposé and call to action in the national newspaper, Jutarnji List, the zoo has finally decided to close its doors.

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The animals – a small collection of bears, wolves, donkeys, monkeys, and others – will be relocated to other zoos in the country and Europe, as Split Mayor Goran Kovacevic told national news agency Hina, as reported by the Independent.

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While these animals will remain in a zoological environment, they will not be kept in a place that is such an “utter disgrace,” as one reviewer stated. They will now have the chance to escape their “torture space” and receive much better care than they ever have before.

Once all the animals have been relocated, the zoo’s land will be converted into a children’s village and botanical garden, with a small section for domestic animals,  Jutarnji List reports.

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All images: TripAdvisor