# Switzerland Today

Lausanne's reptile Vivarium now saved from closing?

photo of vivarium

Lausanne's reptile Vivarium, CHF400,000 in debt, announced in June 2013 it would close on 15 July 2013 if it could not find the financial support it needs. Many of the 600 creatures kept there could be put to death.

As of December 2014 it is still going and has refurbished a cage with money from the Loterie Romande. The beautiful website does a terrible job of informing visitors and supporters of the state of its finances.

A story in September 2013 said many reptiles are being moved away to another site, but the vivarium web pages report on continuing high-profile activities.

The Lausanne viviarium has a good reputation among biologists. The European Association of European Zoos put it in charge of the protection programme for the green viper of Mang Shan, an extremely rare species, ahead of London Zoo. The Chinese viper has been reduced to 300-500 individuals and few zoos have specimens.

Founded in 1992, it claims to have the largest collection of venomous snakes in Europe on public view, with 200 living animals part of the permanent exhibition.

vThe vivarium also plays a major role locally by giving homes to abandoned reptles for the Society for the Protection of Animals. A covered outdoor learning trail recreating the living conditions for native reptiles teaches about snakes, wall lizards, terrapins and batrachians (frogs and salamanders). School groups are regular visitors.

A support committee has been launched to save the zoo, with more than 40 Swiss celebrities from the cultural, political and sporting world speaking up in its support.

They include Philippe Roch, former boss of WWF Switzerland and onetime head of the Swiss federal department of the environment.

A TripAdvisor reviewer rates the Lausanne Vivarium 18th among Lausanne's 24 attractions and describes it as "interesting" if lacking in space for the reptiles.

Rock star Alice Cooper, needing a python for his act in Switzerland in March, learned of the vivarium's plight and pledged 10% of receipts from a concert.

However, the vivarium has also been subject to a number of scandals, including allegations of overpayments of salaries and failure to follow the conditions set by local authorities to obtain financial aid.

Since the beginning of 2013, the administration and management has been much more professional, reported a councillor on the vivarium's board.

The vivarium also has plans to expand to another site with more space.

But it was in bankruptcy protection until mid-July and was likely to have to close if no solution came into view.

Sounds like it did, sharing/moving(?) its living collection to Aquatis in Vennes, but it is hard to know.

Web address: http://vivarium-lausanne.ch/ (French)