See birds in action at Raptors Park near Daugavpils, Latvia

In Demene, Daugavpils municipality, an unusual private zoo – Raptors Park – has opened its doors for visitors, zoo owner Aleksandrs Kalačovs told Latgale Regional Television September 26.

Alongside deer, horses, coatis, tamarin and other animals, Raptors Park houses predatory birds and wildcats. Owner Aleksandrs is especially fond of the predatory birds.

This is the first season when the park opened its doors to visitors, but it is not business for Aleksandrs and his wife Natālija; it is a hobby from the heart.

It was decided to make the zoo available to visitors because “people started driving and looking”, learned about the park as they passed, or from the Internet, said Natālija.

“Many are coming from Estonia to watch the birds,” added Aleksandrs.

Visitors to the park can not only watch birds but hold them. Mostly it is the eagle-owl Buba who can be held. Aleksandrs also has a snowy owl, Stjepa, who he says is still young and doesn't fly.

Aleksandrs trains the birds himself, going with them to the forest so they can hunt. Often, birds also bring in game to exchange for a piece of meat from the owner.

A falcon Baloban is currently in training, a rare protected bird species included in the Red Book of Endangered Species in Latvia.

“In the near future, we plan to demonstrate how they hunt. These birds are used by Arab sheikhs, and they go hunting with these. It's our elite bird,” said Aleksandrs.


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