Cuban zoo helps deaf guests expertise the wild

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HAVANA, Sept 23 (Reuters) – The rhinos, giraffes and lions that populate Cuba’s nationwide zoo have lengthy been a surprise for all, however for deaf Cubans like Tatiana Romero, excursions of the sprawling facility outdoors Havana have just lately grow to be much more welcoming.

Earlier this 12 months, signal language interpreters started accompanying teams of deaf guests aboard the bus and trails that take them throughout an enclosed plain designed to mimic the African savannah.


“Once I was a toddler I used to go to the park. However a few years have handed,” stated Romero, 35, who misplaced her listening to within the womb. “The interpreter was an excellent shock, now I can perceive every thing.”

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The excursions are one amongst a number of revolutionary program the state-run and operated zoo presents for individuals with disabilities, together with animal remedy for kids with Down’s syndrome, autism and different particular wants.


“Beforehand, only a few (deaf) individuals visited the zoo as a result of they may solely see the animals,” stated Yoandra Oliva López, an interpreter and educator with the zoo. “Now many extra are visiting.”

The zoo’s environmental educators, who skilled in a three-month program to study signal language, now coordinate with native municipalities to facilitate excursions for individuals with disabilities. Zoo officers stated they have been additionally working to start comparable excursions particularly for deaf youngsters.


Because the zoo’s bus made its means across the mock savannah, the interpreter used signal language to explain to 9 individuals on a tour earlier this week the 13 species of animals that wander the plains, in addition to their biology and consuming habits.

“It’s fantastic to see their satisfaction… in receiving all the knowledge,” stated Oliva López. “Every guided tour that I give with them is a unprecedented expertise.”


Cuba’s Nationwide Zoo is a favourite attraction for Cubans, with 1,473 specimens of greater than 120 species of animals.

Friday is the Worldwide Day of Signal Languages.

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Reporting by Mario Fuentes and Nelson Gonzalez, writing by Dave Sherwood; Modifying by Aurora Ellis

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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