(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Reuters
HAVANA: The rhinos, giraffes and lions that populate Cuba's national zoo have long been a wonder for all, but for deaf Cubans like Tatiana Romero, tours of the sprawling facility outside Havana have recently become a lot more welcoming.
Earlier this year, sign language interpreters began accompanying groups of deaf visitors aboard the bus and trails that take them across an enclosed plain designed to imitate the African savannah.
'When I was a child I used to visit the park. But many years have passed,' said Romero, 35, who lost her hearing in the womb. 'The interpreter was a great surprise, now I can understand everything.'
The tours are one among several innovative program the state-run and operated zoo offers for people with disabilities, including animal therapy for children with Down's syndrome, autism and other special needs.
'Previously, very few (deaf) people visited the zoo because they could only see the animals,' said Yoandra Oliva López, an interpreter and educator with the zoo. 'Now many more are visiting.'
The zoo's environmental educators, who trained in a three-month program to learn sign language, now coordinate with local municipalities to facilitate tours for people with disabilities. Zoo officials said they were also working to begin similar tours specifically for deaf children.
- Family tries to rebuild life in shattered Ukraine village retaken from Russia
- 2 more whales die in Australia as stranding deaths reach 200
- Hong Kong says will scrap COVID hotel quarantine from Sept. 26
As the zoo's bus made its way around the mock savannah, the interpreter used sign language to describe to nine participants on a tour earlier this week the 13 species of animals that wander the plains, as well as their biology and eating habits.
'It is wonderful to see their satisfaction... in receiving all the information,' said Oliva López. 'Each guided tour that I give with them is an extraordinary experience.'
Cuba's National Zoo is a favorite attraction for Cubans, with 1,473 specimens of more than 120 species of animals.
Friday is the International Day of Sign Languages.
Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.