Dublin Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world but has gone through an impressive metamorphosis over the last decade. The most recent addition is the Kaziranga Forest Trail, a wonderful new habitat for the zoo's breeding herd of Asian elephants.
Nearly 180 years of care for rare and endangered animals.
Dublin Zoo first opened its doors on 1st September 1831 and was known as the Zoological Gardens Dublin. Its then 15 acres in the Phoenix Park featured 46 mammals and 72 birds donated by London Zoo. Visitors flocked to the zoo to marvel at animals they had only read about or seen in pictures...in some cases, animals they had never heard of!
The zoo is a significant part of Dublin's long and fascinating history and every effort is made to preserve its heritage. For example, the old timber-framed, thatched entrance lodge, built in 1833 for just £30, is being restored to its former charming glory. Recently re-opened, Haughton House at the zoo's centre was built in 1898 in memory of Samuel Haughton, Royal Zoological Society of Ireland secretary, a Trinity College professor, and noted science writer; it contained 10 wild animal 'dens', tearooms and a lecture room. The restoration brings an exciting new Learning and Discovery Centre, lecture facilities, a verandah and a balcony with views over the Kaziranga Forest Trail.
Zoo milestones include an open day in 1838 - attended by 20,000 people - to celebrate Queen Victoria's coronation. The first giraffe arrived in 1844 and the first pair of lions - Natal and Natalie - arrived in 1855, producing their first cubs two years later. Reptiles got their own house in 1876.
Despite severe problems during the 1916 Easter Rising and World War II, the zoo survived and now occupies 40 hectares with around 650 animals and birds from all over the globe. Conservation, study and education are its hallmark and staff work in partnership with zoos worldwide to make a significant contribution to the conservation of rare species, promoting the imprtance of animal habitat protection and playing a vital role in endangered species breeding programmes.
A sign of the stars!
Born at Dublin Zoo in 1927, a lion called Cairbre, named after Cú Chullain's charioteer, was seen the world over for many years when he became the mascot for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio.
For more information log onto www.dublinzoo.ie