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Reversed Zoo: Where Humans are Caged while Animals Roam Free

reverse zoo
reverse zoo

The Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo in Chongqing, China, steps away from conventional zoos as humans are put in cages while the animals roam freely. This reversed zoo is a daring venture that may raise some eyebrows but offers a thrilling opportunity to get up close and personal with predators and become part of the hunt.

reverse zoo
Image credit: Courtesy of TomoNews US (screenshot from YouTube)

The Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo

Located in Chongqing, China, the Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo made headlines around the world when it opened its doors in 2015. This unconventional zoo made a bold departure from the traditional concept of zoos – instead of keeping the animals confined, they reversed the roles and decided to place their paying visitors inside cages.

Caged Trucks: A Unique Adventure

Visitors are packed into caged trucks that drive around the enclosure. Lions, tigers and bears are lured in by tying large chunks of raw meat to the bars of the cage. These specially designed vehicles offer an intimate experience with the predators without any deadly consequences.

Experience the Hunt

The reversed zoo experience allows visitors to feel what it is like to be stalked and hunted by big cats, with none of the deadly risks. As the predators gather around the cage cars, visitors get an astonishingly close view of their raw, wild power and are even allowed to feed the animals through the bars. With just a thin layer of metal separating them from these carnivores, it’s an experience of a lifetime.

Safety First

While the Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo’s concept may sound dangerous, safety remains a top priority. Zoo spokesperson Chan Liang assures that visitors are warned to keep their hands and fingers within the cage at all times as a hungry predator cannot tell the difference between you and their next meal.

Watch Video: Reversed Zoo

YouTube video

Reversed Zoos Challenging the Status Quo?

While the Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo undoubtedly offers a one-of-a-kind experience, it has also sparked a debate on ethics in the world of zoos. Animal welfare activists and animal lovers alike have praised the zoo for its ability to provide a cage-free existence for its residents. The idea of caging people while animals roam free may change the way ex-situ conservation in zoos operates around the world.

Reversed Zoos and Conservation

One of the primary objectives of the Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo is to raise awareness about the challenges faced by these animals in the wild. By allowing visitors to witness the beauty and power of these creatures up close, the reversed zoo hopes to inspire a deeper appreciation for wildlife and conservation efforts.

A Word of Caution

Many critics have warned that the reversed zoo represents ‘an accident waiting to happen’, as the predator’s claws and teeth get dangerously close to the caged visitors. Despite these hazards, Lehe Ledu is not the only reversed zoo where humans are caged and animals roam free. Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch, New Zealand and Parque Safari Zoo in Rancagua, Chile offer a similar unconventional experience.

reverse zoo
Image credit: Courtesy of TomoNews US (screenshot from YouTube)

Conclusion: A Wild Adventure

This reversed zoo challenges conventional ideas of what a zoo should be. It offers a thrilling and heart-pounding experience that allows visitors to face nature’s most formidable predators. There is no denying that it provides a unique opportunity to learn about and appreciate the incredible creatures that share our planet.

Whether you’re an adventure seeker or simply curious about the wild world of animals, a visit to the Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo promises an unforgettable experience. It’s a place where humans willingly step into the cage and where boundaries blur. So, if you’re ever in Chongqing, China, and looking for an adventure like no other, be sure to add this extraordinary zoo to your must-visit list.

What do you think about reversed zoos? Leave a comment below.
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Latest posts by Zara Prew, PhD Candidate in Ocean and Atmospheric Science (see all)


Thursday 12th of October 2023

A very interesting article with an extremely unique approach to zoo's. Very intrigued to see how long the idea can last though.

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