A Slovak pensioner has opened a zoo like no other: one filled with dozens of abandoned stuffed animals.
Tibor Marko, a 70-year-old retired construction worker and grandfather, told AFP the idea behind his inanimate menagerie sprang from his own reluctance to dispose of his adult children’s teddy-bears.
Then, “about a year and a half ago, a friend gave me an old teddy bear and several other animals and told me to do something with them. That’s when I thought the old toys could bring joy to other children,” he said.
Today a small public garden near his house is home to more than 70 toy animals including a huge lion, an elephant, a snake, a dinosaur, several monkeys and teddy bears.
“The first animals got stolen but now all the neighbours bring me their old toys and my wife helps me arrange them,” he said at the garden where they also tend the flowers.
The zoo — which has no cages, fences, entry fees, or closing hours — has been a hit with neighbours young and old.
“I come here often with my two-year old daughter, she likes to play with the animals a lot,” local resident Maria told AFP.
“Say good night to the lion, we have to go home,” she then called out to the girl, who was hugging the stuffed king of the jungle.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
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