Europe’s Most Visited Zoo Is in Berlin

Joe McClain - Oct 28, 2013
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The Berlin Zoological Garden is actually one of the best and the oldest zoos in Germany. It was opened in 1844 and it covers eighty four acres of land. The zoo has the most comprehensive species collection in the whole world and is a home to around 1,500 different types of species and almost close to 19,500 animals in total. It is also considered as Europe's most visited and actually one of the most famous zoos in the whole world. Annually, it receives visitors of up to three million.

Animals that are globally known such as Knut the polar bear and Bao Bao the giant panda played a crucial role in the building of the public image of the zoo. For instance Bao Bao was the eldest giant panda ever known. He was on a loan from China solely for breeding purposes and thus attracted quite a large number of people who came to see him. Polar bear Knut on the other hand became the center of a mass media after it was rejected by his mother and subsequently raised by zookeepers and thus zoo attendance increased incredibly.

The zoo also collaborates with a lot of research institutes, universities and even other zoos all over the world. It helps in safeguarding the endangered species, promotes and maintains various breeding programs and also participates in a lot of species reintroduction programs.

The Berlin Zoological Garden was opened on the first of August, 1844 and was actually the first zoo in the whole of Germany. The aquarium was opened in 1913 by Fredrick William IV the King of Prussia who played a rather crucial role by donating the first animals. The zoo area was destroyed completely during World War II and out of 3715 animals that the zoo had, only 91 managed to survive. These included two hyenas, two lions, an Asian bull elephant, ten hamadryas baboons, a hippo bull, a black stork and a chimpanzee.

By the end of the war, a huge Flak tower was one of the last areas of German resistance that remained fortified in the zoo. This tower was known as Zoo Tower and had its anti-aircraft weapons and bunkers defend against the allied air forces. Despite its destruction, the zoo and the associated Aquarium were reconstructed based on modern principles with a sole aim of displaying the animals in the natural and the most feasible manner possible.

Ultimately, success was achieved by breeding animals incorporating some of the rare species and this beyond doubt illustrates the efficacy of these new techniques. The zoo is open throughout the year and can easily be reached by the public transportation. Visitors can make entry into the zoo through a well-designed Elephant Gate that lies next to the aquarium or via Lion Gate located on the Hardenbergplatz.

The zoo also maintains studbooks meant for Indian and black rhinoceroses and the gaurs. The population of the quite rare pigs and deer forms part of the many captive breeding projects. The zoo also supports various conservationists in different countries and is a partner of the species protection foundation. The common trend here is to keep most of the animals in enclosures designed in a manner so as to recreate their original and natural habitat.

The carnivore house shows the many and rather rare predators as well as all the big cats. The basement is where the visitors are invited to have a view of the nocturnal animals. The bird house on the other hand, presents an aviary at the same time offering a variety of forms incorporating several species of hornbills and parrots. Numerous big aviaries display herons, waders and many other species. The Berlin zoo is actually among the few zoos to exhibit Luzon, Tuatara and Tarictic Hornbills. Moreover, the aquarium has the largest collection in Europe of aquatic life.

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