Those who know
animals will protect animals
|opening||September 7, 1929|
|Animal species||375 animal species (end of 2018)|
|Individuals||4817 animals (end of 2018)|
|Species focus||Animal species from all over the world|
|Visitor numbers||1,310,000 (2018)|
|management||Severin Dressen (director)|
|Sponsorship||Zoo Zurich AG|
|Funding organizations||Zoo Foundation,
Zurich Zoo Society
|Member of||approx. 20 (including WAZA , EAZA , VdZ and Zooschweiz )|
|Website Zurich Zoo|
The Zurich Zoo, with over 30,000 members, is the zoo's official association.
Plant and infrastructure
Zurich Zoo is located above the city of Zurich on the Zürichberg in the Fluntern district , in district 7 . Originally there was a restaurant on the site with a view of the Säntis and a large meadow on which various domestic and hoofed animals grazed when it was founded. That is why the first zoo restaurant was called “Säntisblick”.
The exposed location at hectares of space available for expansion.caused problems especially at the beginning when most of the accommodations for the animals were not yet heated and the area was not yet connected to the water supply of the city of Zurich. Today the area on the outskirts between meadows and forests has the advantage that the zoo still has a few
The zoo is characterized by spacious and natural facilities. The plants are assigned to a different ecosystem depending on the enclosure. The park is located on a slope and has a not insignificant gradient, which today can be overcome by wide, paved paths. Only the nature and beaten paths are impassable for wheelchairs and prams.
Today the zoo can be reached by tram from downtown Zurich. There are also two bus connections available. In 1952, the zoo caused the tram station to be renamed from Allmend Fluntern to Zoo .
Since the tram stop is 300 meters from the entrance, various other possibilities were discussed how the zoo could be better developed. Over the years, some concepts have been developed which should simplify the approach to the zoo:
- An additional S-Bahn station at Dreiwiesen between Stadelhofen and Stettbach , where various lines of the Zurich S-Bahn would stop.
- A zoo parking garage
- The zoo would like to make the access easier by means of a cable car from Stettbach. A first project, started in 2008, was rejected by the Zurich administrative court in 2014. A revised application was submitted in spring 2018.
- An extension of the tram tracks to the zoo entrance or to the Masoala hall. This was clearly rejected in the referendum of November 30, 2008 by the voters of the Canton of Zurich.
Parking spaces are available for cars, but these are insufficient on days with a large number of visitors. On Sundays and public holidays, a shuttle bus is available to visitors to a parking lot further away. An attempt to transport visitors from the Irchel University car park to the zoo by shuttle bus was canceled prematurely due to insufficient use.
|Directors of the Zurich Zoo|
|1929-1932||Hans Steiner (half day)|
|since July 2020||Severin Dressen|
The history of the zoo began when the former Foreign Minister of Abyssinia , Swiss-born Alfred Ilg , gave two lions to the city of Zurich in 1902. Thank you for the training he was able to complete at ETH . A kennel or a small enclosure for the lions failed due to funding. In the absence of a suitable kennel, the animals were first placed in a makeshift cage by the sculptor Urs Eggenschwyler at Milchbuck (Zurich), in 1903 in the Hagenbeck Zoo and in 1905 in the Basel Zoo , where they lived until their death.
In 1925, animal lovers founded the Zurich Zoo, which had set itself the goal of finally making a zoo a reality. The association with around 3000 members was soon able to acquire a large piece of land with an inn on the Allmend Fluntern . The groundbreaking ceremony took place on October 28, 1928, while representatives of the newly founded Zoological Garden Cooperative (the operator of the zoo) began to purchase various animals.
The new zoo facility was opened on September 7, 1929. At that time it consisted of a main building with aviaries , aquariums , terrariums , monkey cages and elephant stalls, a bear pit, a predator house and a small monkey house. In between there were numerous enclosures for other native and exotic mammals with simple stalls.
One week after the opening on September 15, 20,835 visitors were counted; a number that has only been exceeded twice to date. The first few years were not easy for the zoo. Foot and mouth disease , the economic crisis, unusually cold winters and the Second World War all hit the zoo. He was repeatedly dependent on loans from the city and canton. With the display of foreign people and circuses one tried to lure people to the zoo. The outbreak of a black panther , which went missing for ten weeks in the late autumn of 1933, and a leopard that managed to escape in 1936 made negative headlines .
When the zoo was founded, the focus was on exhibiting animals. From the beginning, however, the focus was also on information. This was and is still a reason for the support from the state. In 1954, inscription boards with brief information on the species were introduced (so-called Hediger boards ). Many zoos have adopted this practice.
Growth and expansion
After the early years, the zoo was expanded: the area was expanded, an Africa house for hippos and rhinos was built, a large monkey house and a new shelter for the elephants were added . In 1989 the dilapidated main building, which had existed since the founding year 1929, was renewed. The new federal animal protection ordinance came into force eight years earlier. Since various cages were too small, you had to part with some species.
In 1955, more than half a million people visited the zoo for the first time. The numbers remained roughly constant over the next 30 years. The number of visitors has been increasing steadily since the 1980s, with peaks in years with elephant births ( Komali 1984 and Panang 1989). This success is based, among other things, on the master plan 2030 , which is intended to ensure more species-appropriate animal husbandry with the construction of new facilities.
In the new enclosures (including the bear enclosure 1995, Himalaya enclosure 2001, Masoala rain forest hall 2003, lion enclosure 2006), visitors can observe the animals in a natural environment. The old visitor record of September 22, 1929 was only exceeded on August 31, 2002, when 28,724 people visited the zoo on the occasion of the opening of the Zoolino . On July 16, 2005, 30,968 visitors came to the zoo to watch the opening of the nature workshop . In 2014, when the new elephant facility opened, 1,422,059 visitors were recorded.
Thanks to the increased self-financing - in 2007 alone, twelve million francs were raised through admissions - the proportion of public money in the zoo's budget fell steadily. In 1999 the Zurich Zoological Garden Cooperative was transformed into the Zurich Zoo stock corporation.
With the Lewa facility, which should have opened in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic , the zoo grew significantly by a facility over five hectares.
- In 1995 the elephant Komali , who was born in the zoo, attacked a keeper, whereupon the animal was euthanized.
- In December 2019, a Philippines crocodile bit itself in the hand of a carer. Since it was not possible to distract the animal, it had to be shot.
- In July 2020, an animal keeper was fatally injured by an Amur tiger in the enclosure, whereupon the zoo was closed the following day for reasons of piety.
- Zurich Zoo is the only zoo in Europe that has successfully bred Galapagos giant tortoises . In June 2004 the 50th young hatched.
- Zurich Zoo was the first zoo ever to succeed in breeding blue-headed terracotta.
- Zurich Zoo also succeeded in breeding mane bites ( Lophotibis cristata ) for the first time outside of their Malagasy homeland.
- When a group of mouse lemurs arrived at the zoo in 2003 , it was discovered that this was a new species.
- At the 22nd annual congress of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) in Bath , Zurich Zoo received the EAZA Award for the successful implementation of nature conservation projects in Madagascar .
- Siam crocodiles hatched in Europe for the first time in the Zurich Zoo .
Zurich Zoo today
In 2006, Zurich Zoo took up an area of almost 15 hectares , which will increase to 28 hectares by 2020. Over 4500 animals live on it, distributed in 375 species; the number of species and individuals has been reduced in recent years in favor of larger enclosures. The zoo is one of the most visited and most important sights in the city of Zurich: in 2016 it was visited by 1,181,164 million people, in 2014 even 1,422,059. Alex Rübel has been the director since 1991 . The company employs over 160 people, whose salaries make up the majority of the daily expenses of CHF 68,504 (2013).
Since 2000, a team of around 300 volunteers has been supporting the zoo operators, who pass on their goals to the visitors in accordance with the nature conservation strategy developed within the framework of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) .
375 animal species and 4817 individuals (as of December 31, 2018) from six continents live in the Zurich Zoo. Only animal species are kept that the zoo can offer species-appropriate and behavior-typical facilities. For this reason, several species with great demands on movement and space were given up, for example the polar bears to France and in the summer of 2006 the chimpanzees to Gelsenkirchen . In order to achieve breeding success, at least one female and one male specimen are kept of each species.
Today, Zurich Zoo sees itself in particular as a nature conservation center. As many as possible exotic animals are no longer shown, instead endangered animal species should be enabled to survive. Every new facility in the zoo is linked to a nature conservation project. The zoo wants to mediate between nature, animals and humans and educate the population accordingly (in line with the motto “Who knows animals will protect animals”). In this way, the financial resources necessary for the projects should also be raised. All new buildings in the zoo are financed privately or through the support association, the Zurich Zoo Society (TGZ). In order to achieve these goals, contracts were signed with several sponsors. The zoo rents rooms for parties and operates several restaurants both inside and outside the site.
The zoo is increasingly committed to the science and conservation of endangered species. He participates in around 40 conservation breeding programs ( EEP ). Siberian tigers , snow leopards , otters , Arabian oryx , Indian lions , Asian elephants , cap gibbon , lion tamarins , yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys , among others, are kept in Zurich as part of conservation breeding, most of which reproduce successfully. The rearing of Galapagos giant tortoises is unique in Europe. For this turtle species, the cap gibbons and blue poison dart frogs , Zurich Zoo keeps the breeding books as part of the conservation breeding programs.
In 1992, a new concept for the development of the zoo by 2020 was presented. The area of the zoo was to be more than doubled, but the number of animal species was to be maintained and practically every enclosure was to be redesigned. They no longer wanted to showcase animal species, but rather show ecosystems . These should show habitats from Eurasia , South America and Africa or Madagascar - the zoo was divided geographically. The individual systems are intended to represent a natural habitat, which leaves the visitors only a few glimpses and offers the animals the opportunity to withdraw.
An updated and expanded master plan serves as a guideline for development up to 2030.
Realized expansion steps
- South American mountain cloud forest "Sangay" ( I wear glasses and coatis ): Opened in 1995
- Eurasian wetland "Selenga" (pond system for native and North Asian birds): opened in 1997
- Restaurant with lecture room: opened in 2000
- Himalayan plant ( Siberian tiger , wolves , snow leopards , small pandas )
- Panda facility: opened in autumn 2000
- Snow leopard facility: opened in spring 2001
- Tiger plant: opened in summer 2001
- Wolf facility: opened in winter 2001
- "Zoolino" (petting zoo with domestic farm animals): opened in 2002
- «Naturwerkstatt» (course rooms for children's groups): opened in 2005
- Masoala rainforest (Malagasy rainforest house): opened in 2003
- Indian dry forest (facility for Indian lions and Asiatic pygmy otters ):
- Indoor facility with information center “Lion / Gir National Park ”: opened in autumn 2006
- Outdoor area: opened in spring 2007
- African mountains ( jeladas , Nubian ibex , hyrax ) with information center "Semien" : opened in autumn 2008
- South American wetland " Pantanal " ( capybara , anteaters , tapirs , flamingos , capuchin monkeys ) with information center; opened in March 2012
- Redesign of the entrance area
- Cash registers, souvenir shop and café: opened in summer 2013
- Visitor center: opened December 2013
- Elephant park ( Asian elephants , antelopes , bankiva chickens ); opened in June 2014
- "Masoala Express" visitor electric train: opened in summer 2014
- Mongolian steppe ( trample and yaks ): opened in May 2015
- Conversion of aquariums and exotarium: opened in September 2016
- Australian facility
- Parrot House: opened in June 2017
- Renovation of the Africa House: opened in March 2018
- Savannah «Lewa» ( giraffes , rhinos , zebras , antelopes , ostriches ): completed in April 2020
Further expansion steps by 2030
- Zoo cable car
- New ape house ( gorillas and orangutans )
- Coastal landscape ( seals , otters and birds)
- Event space
- Asian steppe ( Banteng , Arabian oryx )
South American cloud forest
The bear enclosure, opened in 1995, offers spectacled bears and coatis a lifelike habitat on more than 2500 m² . The animals share the facility. However, several trenches offer the possibility of separating the individual animal species from one another and enable the keepers to feed and clean them. The facility is named after the Sangay National Park in Ecuador.
Numerous Eurasian birds (including ducks , geese and young cranes ) live and breed around a large pond . Most of the storks are wild animals that move south with their conspecifics in winter - some also spend the cold season in the zoo. The European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis) can sometimes be seen sunbathing. The visitor can walk through the facility on a walkway. The facility is named after the Mongolian - Russian Selenga river basin .
The inhabitants of this facility are predators from the Himalayas . They include Siberian tigers , Mongolian wolves , snow leopards and small pandas . Large facilities are available to the various animal species that depict their natural habitats.
The petting zoo was built on the site of an old farm and offers visitors the opportunity to have close contact with local farm animals and domestic animals such as pigs , geese , chickens , goats and guinea pigs . A cave leads into the enclosure of the prairie dogs and allows these animals to be observed - separated by a pane.
The “nature workshop”, which opened in summer 2005, serves as a training facility to bring “city children” closer to farm animals and wild animals that live in the settlement area. One of the main themes of the house is the native bats , whose injured conspecifics are looked after by the Bat Conservation Foundation .
Masoala rainforest hall
In the summer of 2003 a rainforest hall was opened. The rainforest house , unique in Europe in this size, depicts a piece of the Malagasy Masoala rainforest in Switzerland. The plant species, which come exclusively from Madagascar, develop well thanks to a translucent roof made from a special film and special technology. The four layers of foil are together only one millimeter thick. A computer-controlled compressor pumps air between the first three layers and automatically regulates the pressure. When inflated, the foil jacket is one meter thick. It allows almost all of the sunlight to pass through unhindered. The fourth film provides protection against hail and snow and is so stable that zoo employees can walk on it. The animals (50 species of vertebrate animals are kept, including lemurs , makis , chameleons , flying foxes , giant Aldabra tortoises , birds , geckos , frogs , lizards and insects ) can move around freely in the hall, which has an area of over one hectare. The visitors have to stay on the paths. Touching the plants (more than 20,000 from 92 families) is prohibited. The rapid growth of plants and brisk offspring in the animals show that the artificial rainforest is good for them. For the first time outside Madagascar the endangered bird species mane ibis ( Lophotibis cristata ) was raised, and for the first time in captivity the breeding of blue- headed pittoides ( Atelornis pittoides ). The intervention of the district keepers in the flora is kept as minimal as possible. The animals, on the other hand, have to be fed because the plants and insects in the hall do not provide sufficient food.
The lion enclosure for Asiatic lions , which opened in summer 2006, recreates a section of the Gir Forest National Park in India, the last refuge for these lions in the wild. The big cats inhabit an area of approx. 1850 square meters, which is criss-crossed by deciduous trees, watercourses and lava rocks. They share this with the Asian dwarf-clawed otters . Attached to the facility is an information center that draws attention to the acute threat to big cats.
The elephant house from 1971 was replaced in 2014 by a new facility for the Asian elephants , the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park . The enclosure, modeled on the Thai national park Kaeng Krachan, is 11,000 square meters - six times larger than the old one - and offers spacious outdoor and indoor areas as well as various pools. The 6800 square meter roof contains 271 skylights. In the indoor enclosure, elephants can be seen swimming underwater. Also blackbuck , Kleinkantschils and various smaller animals are housed in the facility. The zookeepers will only have protected contact with the animals through bars.
Zurich is one of the leading zoos in Europe for the breeding of Asian elephants. So far, twelve young animals have been born on the Zürichberg, of which two were still living in the zoo in 2014. The breeding and lead bull of the herd, Maxi , who has since been euthanized , became the father of twelve boys. In 2005 the old elephant house had to be expanded because two elephant cows were pregnant and there was not enough space for two additional young animals. The elephant cubs were born on May 3rd and July 24th of the same year. The elephant cows live in two separate groups, as not all animals harmonize with one another. Three cubs are expected in 2020 - the first of them, an Indi and Thai calf, was born on February 5th. A female calf died on the night of the birth (April 4/5), presumably from injuries inflicted by other animals in the group.
South American wetland
In spring 2012 a new facility for wetland residents from South America was opened. The facility includes an information center on the subject of illegal animal trafficking . The facility is modeled on the Brazilian Pantanal wetland and named after it. Flatland tapirs , anteaters , green-winged macaws , capybaras , squirrel monkeys , chile flamingos , yellow-breasted capuchins , collar-warrior birds and coal turtles live in the complex .
The 7300 square meter facility was opened in 2015 on the site of the old elephant house. It is home to trample , house yaks and cashmere goats . In addition to the barren enclosure, there are several yurts in which visitors can stay overnight, as well as a circuit for camel rides.
In the Exotarium - the actual main building - there are numerous terrariums and aquariums in which various fish , amphibians and reptiles , mainly from the South American continent , live. The king penguins , which live in a large outdoor enclosure in winter (in summer the Humboldt penguins' quarters ) and, at temperatures below 10 ° C, organize a daily parade through the zoo with their keepers , are particularly popular with visitors . The aquariums were renewed in 2016. In the main building, the flamingos have their winter quarters as well as the tapirs , capybaras and anteaters , which have had offspring repeatedly in recent years.
Since the two Philippines crocodiles did not get along, the female was passed on to a zoo in Denmark in 2018. The male had to be shot in 2019 after a nurse was grabbed by the hand.
Australian House (formerly Africa House)
The building, erected in 1965 according to the principles developed by Heini Hediger , was the home of African pachyderms until 2016. Black rhinos and pygmy hippos , which lived here together with various African bird species such as maggot cutters , cattle egrets and tokos . The house is the only building in the zoo that is a listed building . In March 2018, two koalas moved into the facility , the first in Switzerland. In July 2019, two female koalas were added. The first of the two male koalas died unexpectedly in December 2019, the second was put to sleep in March 2020 due to a retrovirus disease . The facility is also inhabited by Bennett wallabies , giant monitor lizards , rabbits, emus , laughing Hans and all-color loris. There is also an exhibition on invasive species in the house. The outdoor area is modeled on a bush forest in the Canberra region .
In a few years, this building will only be reserved for the Asian great apes. But until then, a gorilla family, cap gibbons and the noisy Siamangs can be observed. One of the largest orangutan groups in Europe can also be seen. Until 2006, there were also chimpanzees living in Zurich Zoo , which had been part of the animal population since the year it was founded. However, they had to be handed in due to lack of space and now live in the Zoom Erlebniswelt Gelsenkirchen .
The Lewa-Sawanne is the largest facility in the zoo at 5.6 hectares. Giraffes , white rhinos , zebras , saber antelopes , impalas , ostriches and guinea fowl live in a spacious, around 20,000 square meter enclosure, which is reminiscent of the East African savannah with its artificial baobabs and waterhole . Spotted hyenas , porcupines , meerkats and Dahomey dwarf cattle are kept in their own enclosures . Naked mole rats are also housed in the giraffe house. There is an accessible aviary for African gray parrots between the giraffe house and the elephant house .
The facility is named after the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya , which has been supported by Zurich Zoo since 1998. A small village with a school, hairdressing salon and airfield also houses catering facilities. Kopje rocks are another Kenyan element.
Animal and nature protection
The Zurich Zoo participates in various projects in Madagascar that aim to protect and preserve the island's unique flora and fauna. In particular, the protection of the Masoala National Park is to be ensured in the long term . With around 100,000 Swiss francs annually from donations and two percent of the turnover in the Masoala shop and Masoala restaurant, Zurich Zoo makes a significant contribution to the national park's budget. Up until 2013, projects in and around the protected area were financed with over three million francs.
The Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand , where around 200 elephants live in the wild, is also supported in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Society. The main aim is to defuse conflicts between wild animals and humans through protective fences, an information center and awareness-raising campaigns. The park's rangers are supported in the fight against poachers.
In the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy , a reserve in the Mount Kenya massif , which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site , rangers are also supported and conflicts between the local population and wild animals are defused.
Zurich Zoo is the Swiss headquarters of the Antarctic Research Trust ART , which is committed to protecting penguins, albatrosses and their habitats in the Antarctic.
The Bat Conservation Foundation has been using the zoo's premises since 1998. An emergency care station for bats is operated in the Zoolino. The “Bat World” information and training center is also located there.
The zoo successfully breeds otters as part of the European Conservation Breeding Program . Young animals can be given to partners in the breeding program at regular intervals. He also supports the Pro Lutra foundation , which has set itself the goal of rescuing and resettling otters in Switzerland.
The zoo keeps the European studbook for the Galapagos giant tortoises. Together with the surrender of a large number of the more than 50 young animals born at Zurich Zoo, the aim is to build a zoo population of the naturally endangered species. The office of the Friends of the Galapagos Islands (Switzerland) association is also located on the zoo grounds.
After the opening of the new tiger enclosure in 2002, the zoo worked with the Tigris Foundation to secure the existence of the Amur tigers in Russia. The main tasks included equipping the reserve guards, educating the population, reforesting the burned forests and paying compensation to livestock farmers for wrecked domestic animals.
The zoo also participates in the conservation breeding program of the Arabian oryx and has given some animals to the release programs in Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Zurich Zoo is one of the few Swiss zoos to have sponsors. In return, the zoo purchases products from its patrons. The four sponsors are:
Advertising and publicity
The zoo does a lot of advertising, especially when it comes to raising funds for new projects. In 2005, for example, during the collection campaign for the new lion enclosure, a TV commercial was produced in which a hippopotamus, which the Swiss musician Marc Sway lent his voice, sang a cover version of the famous song The Lion Sleeps Tonight . There are also various billboards pointing out new facilities and fundraising campaigns throughout the Zurich metropolitan area .
The zoo invites local media reporters to monthly events at which an animal or topic is presented. In 2004 Swiss television produced a five-part documentary series about everyday life at the zoo and provided a look behind the scenes.
The zoo has had its own website since 1999 and a mobile app since 2012 .
- Zoojournal , appears annually
- Zoo News , appears annually
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- Learning path 2: cats , 1992
- Learning path 2: cats , 1998
- Learning path 3: Birds by the water , 1996
- Learning path 4: Aquarium , 1992
- Learning path 5: Great Apes , 1993
- Learning path 6: Elephants , 1994
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