Those who know me might be a little surprised by my choice of destination for this last day of February 2018.

Once more, like last month, my plan to be out for a whole day was foiled due to healthcare scheduling. No need to go into the details, just know that I had only two hours to spare, which forced me to find somewhere ‘on the way’ and of easy access to explore.

I went to the Peter and Paul wilderness park…

Wherever I saw it mentioned online, it was hailed as a wonderful place to go for an afternoon, to enjoy the sights, the peace, and the well taken care of animals. It is open all year, free of charge, easy to get to by public transport, has (free) parking, and many complimented it as an excellent dog walking destination.

It was a 10 minute drive from my morning appointment and wouldn’t push me that far off the rest of my scheduled journey.

Corner of the Wildpark Restaurant and a bright blue sky with cirrus clouds and an airplane high in the sky.
A crisp, bright, beautiful day, and a world full of possibilities.

With a deep blue sky above my head and a fresh -9°C, I cracked my mind open and smiled my way through the parking lot. It is a sanctuary, after all, and, as such, a place of welfare, right?

Once I hit the park itself, the hopeful mood I had managed to muster up was replaced by an uncomfortably familiar form of anger.

A high prison fence with snowy hills in the distance.
A crisp, bright, beautiful day, and an enclosed world.

There is something viscerally wrong with keeping animals locked up even if they are able to "enjoy living under the stars." There was nothing wild about the park, except the dog owners who were doing their best to get their dogs interested in the penned up animals.

For all the widespread talk of eating local and organic, and general animal welfare concerns, it exasperates me that the conversation hasn’t yet seriously shifted towards animals imprisoned for life for sheer human entertainment. When this park was opened its goals were noble: help keep these carefully selected (i.e. manageable) endangered animals alive by encouraging reproduction and general public interest in their well-being. That was in 1892.

Now we have endless information at the tip of our fingertips, beautiful images, and even 4K video of incredibly hard to spot wild creatures living freely in their (endangered) natural habitats. Why do we need to keep any animals locked up - besides, perhaps, to protect those who are being actively hunted by mentalists who want to snort their horns to get a hard on?

This park has outlived its purpose and has been transformed into a magnet for those who seek to enrich the lives of their favoured animals with the misery of others.


Those who have donated to keep this place open for the past century ought better put their money into preserving the natural - i.e. non-fenced - environment these beautiful beings would live in were it not for the environmental destruction we, cruel bipods, actively impose upon them.

Or maybe, for the sake of balance, we should also evict all the human beings who happen to inhabit swathes of lands which would better serve this (pen)ultimate god of ours, The Global Economy... oh, wait... yeah, we do that already .

Wildpark Peter und Paul

Location: St Gallen, Switzerland

Part I: The Inmates

Each picture of the animals here has been taken through a fence just like the one below. These beings are open sky prisoners. Please keep this in mind. Thank you.

Close up of a wire fence.
A sign telling people to keep their dogs on the lead is attached to the fence of an animal enclosure.
A Capra ibex looking at something.
Capra ibex
A Rupicapra rupicapra looking straight into the camera.
Rupicapra rupicapra
Behind a fence are some ibex to the left and on the right a puppy with its human.
This woman was particularly keen to get her puppy excited about these Capra ibex. Because confining animals for human gawking isn't enough...
A fence rises up into the sky: on one side a tree and on the other a tall rock.
A group of ibex are chilling out on an artificial rock behind a fence.
Capra ibex on a (renovated) display that became the golden standard for fake zoo rocks (original by Urs Eggenschwiler in 1902; related info here).
A Cervus elaphus is squinting and sticking its tongue out.
This Cervus elaphus is showing you what he thinks about being held a prisoner.
A young Cervus elaphus is looking straight into the camera.
Cervus elaphus - this little one will never know the world outside these fences.
A Sus scrofa is coming towards the camera from behind a wooden wall.
A mom Sus scrofa struttin' her thing.
A young Sus scrofa is sniffing the air while looking straight into the camera.
Sus scrofa
The behind of a Sus scrofa is sticking out of a wooden hut.
Even the roof over this Sus scrofa's furry head isn't enough of a reason to keep her and her little ones confined for life.
The dark side of a big bare tree contrasts the blue sky - the foreground is a fence.
A group of Carvus nippon stare into the camera from a distance.
Cervus nippon - and yes, nippon stands for japanese. Japanese internment camps, anyone?
Five Carvus nippon are laying in the ground in the foreground - in the background are fences and a wooden structure.
Cervus nippon
A male Cervus nippon is stood in the shade of a wooden structure - in the background are fences.
Cervus nippon
A lynx lynx is sat in a big cage - in the foreground, out of focus, hangs a 'keep your dog on the lead' sign.
Lynx lynx

Part II: Free forms

The following photographs are some calming sights captured in between oppressive bouts of anger.

Silhouettes of a bare tree and two crows, one of which is mid-flight.
Close up of exposed tree roots.
A handful of dried up leaves hang onto a bare branch.
The exposed roots of a large tree have enveloped what seems to ba a brick.
Silhouette of a large branch on a deep blue sky.
Forest: part of the trees are in the bright sunlight, others in the shade.
A bright sun shines through the bare braches of a large tree.
Black bare branches in focus in the foreground, sunlight bare trees in the background.
Abstract organic forms on a red background.
Even the salt on my car door makes me feel warm and happy inside - unlike animals kept captive for no good reason.

Browse the Wildpark Peter und Paul website here.