Bronx Zoo

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For other uses, see The Bronx Zoo (disambiguation).
Bronx Zoo
Bronx Zoo logo
Asia Gate Entrance
Date opened November 8, 1899 [1]
Location 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx Park, Bronx, New York, 10460
Coordinates 40°51′02″N 73°52′31″W / 40.850581°N 73.87538°W / 40.850581; -73.87538Coordinates: 40°51′02″N 73°52′31″W / 40.850581°N 73.87538°W / 40.850581; -73.87538
Land area 265 acres (107 ha)[2]
Number of animals 6,000 [3]
Number of species 650 [3]
Memberships AZA [4]
Major exhibits Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, Wild Asia Monorail, Madagascar!, Tiger Mountain, African Plains, World of Birds, World of Monkeys, World of Reptiles, Zoo Center
Public transit access




The Bronx Zoo is located in the Bronx borough of New York City, within Bronx Park. It is among the largest metropolitan zoos in the world (largest in North America), with some 6,000 animals representing about 650 species from around the world. The zoo comprises 265 acres (107 ha) of park lands and naturalistic habitats, through which the Bronx River flows.

The Bronx Zoo is part of an integrated system of four zoos and one aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).


Fordham University owned the land which became the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden. Fordham sold it to the City of New York for only $1,000 under the condition that the lands be used for a zoo and garden; this was in order to create a natural buffer between the university grounds and the urban expansion that was nearing. In the 1880s, New York State set aside the land for future development as parks. In 1894 the Boone and Crockett Club founded and took control of the New York Zoological Society (later renamed to Wildlife Conservation Society)[1] for the purpose of founding a zoo. Credit for this belonged chiefly to Madison Grant, C. Grant LaFarge, and some others.[5]

Zoo Director William T. Hornaday feeding a greater kudu in 1920

The zoo (originally called the Bronx Zoological Park[6] and the Bronx Zoological Gardens[7]) opened its doors to the public on November 8, 1899, featuring 843 animals in 22 exhibits. The first zoo director was William Temple Hornaday.[8] Heins & LaFarge designed the original permanent buildings as a series of Beaux-Arts pavilions grouped around the large circular sea lion pool.[9] In 1934, the Rainey Memorial Gates, designed by noted sculptor Paul Manship, were dedicated as a memorial to noted big game hunter Paul James Rainey.[10] The gates were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[11]

The Rockefeller fountain that today adorns the gardens was once a famous landmark in Como, as it was standing in the main square (Piazza Cavour) by the lakeside. It was bought by William Rockefeller in 1902 for 3,500 lire (the estimated equivalent then of $637) and installed at the Bronx Zoo in 1903. In 1968, the fountain was designated an official New York City landmark, and is one of the few local monuments to be honored in this way.[12]

A side entrance to the Bronx Zoo

In November 2006, the Zoo opened up brand-new eco-friendly restrooms outside the Bronx River Gate. According to the Clivus multrum company, which built the composting toilets chosen by the Zoo, these facilities will serve 500,000 people and save 1,000,000 U.S. gallons (3,800,000 l) of water a year.[13][14]

In March 2007, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Fordham University Graduate School of Education announced they would offer a joint program leading to a Master of Science degree in education and New York State initial teacher certification in adolescent science education (biology grades 7-12). The program began in 2008, and is the first joint degree program of its kind.[15]


The Bronx Zoo made the news in August 2006 when it agreed to enter a snow leopard cub, Leo, into its breeding program. The 13-month-old cub was found stuck in mud following a landslide in Naltar Valley in Pakistan. The landslide had killed the cub's mother. A Pakistani shepherd in the area found the cub with its female sibling, but the female had died a week later due to malnutrition. He then handed over the male cub to Pakistani authorities to care for him. Since there are no captive breeding programs or rehabilitation centers for snow leopards in Pakistan, the authorities decided to send the cub to the Bronx Zoo. The leopard will be returned to its place of birth following construction of a rehab facility in the Naltar Valley with cooperation from the United States.[16][17][18] On April 9, 2013, a 17-pound snow leopard was born at the zoo and was put on display in August. It was the first son of Leo.[19]

In January 2010, the zoo was selected to house four abandoned baby bear cubs. The Wildlife Conservation Society suspects that their mother was killed in a mudslide. The four cubs are healthy and happy in their new home.[when?][20]

The next month, the zoo put an "assurance colony" of Kihansi Spray Toads.[where?] The species disappeared in their native Tanzania home.[21]

In December 2012, five Chinese yellow-headed box turtles, a critically endangered species, were born.[22]


1985 zookeeper death[edit]

On July 29, 1985, two Siberian tigresses killed 24-year-old animal keeper Robin Silverman after she entered their enclosure with a volunteer aide.[23] It was unclear why Silverman entered the enclosure; the zoo's general curator suspected a lapse in concentration while Silverman's family suspected a lapse on the part of the zoo. It was the first fatality in the zoo's history.[24]

2012 mauling[edit]

On September 21, 2012, David Villalobos, 25, jumped off a monorail train (he was not strapped in), and cleared the 16-foot-high perimeter fence around the area into the tiger exhibit. During the 10 minutes that the was in the enclosure, Villalobos was alone with an 11-year-old male Siberian (Amur) tiger named Bashuta (a three-year resident of the Zoo at the time) before being mauled. Villalobos was attacked on his shoulder, arms, legs, and back, before he was rescued by zoo officials who used fire extinguishers to chase the tiger away and told him to escape by rolling under a wire. Villalobos was taken to an area hospital and reported in stable condition. He had petted the 400-pound animal and wanted to be "one with the tiger". The tiger was not euthanized as a result of the incident, since it was clearly provoked and the mauling did not result in a fatality.[25]

Animal escapes[edit]

On March 26, 2011, the Bronx Zoo announced that the reptile house was closed after a venomous adolescent Egyptian cobra was discovered missing from its off-exhibit enclosure on March 25. Zoo officials were confident the missing cobra would be found in the building and not outside, since the Egyptian cobra is known to be uncomfortable in open areas.[26] The missing snake quickly sparked a popular Twitter parody account, @BronxZoosCobra,[27] which narrated the daily hijinks of the Egyptian cobra.[28] On March 31, zoo authorities found the snake in a non-public, non-exhibit area of the reptile house.[29]

On May 9, 2011, a female Green Peafowl escaped from the zoo before being caught on May 11.[30]

On September 11, 2011, a Lesser Kudu escaped from its enclosure for about half an hour, and then returned to its enclosure once a zoo worker opened the gate.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Wildlife Conservation Society". Funding Universe. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "How long does is take to see the zoo". WCS. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Bronx Zoo". New York City. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Grinnell, George (1910). Brief History of the Boone and Crockett Club. New York, New York: Forest and Stream Publishing Company. p. 7. 
  6. ^ "New Antelope house". (New York Times). November 27, 1903. Retrieved 28 February 2011.  "The antelope house at the Bronx Zoological Park was opened to the public yesterday."
  7. ^ "Taft Enjoys Trip To The Bronx Zoo". (New York Times). May 24, 1911. Retrieved 28 February 2011.  "President Taft paid a two-hour visit to the Bronx Zoological Gardens yesterday afternoon, as the guest of the New York Zoological Society."
  8. ^ "Dr. W. T. Hornaday Dies In Stamford". (New York Times). March 7, 1937. Retrieved 31 May 2010.  "Dr. William T. Hornaday, who retired as the first director of the New York Zoological Park in 1926 after thirty years' service and who since had devoted himself to the protection of wild life, largely through his writings and efforts as head of the Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund, died tonight at his home, the Anchorage, in West North Street, this city."
  9. ^ Bridges, William. Gathering of Animals: An unconventional history of the New York Zoological Society. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.
  10. ^ Stephen S. Lash (May 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Rainey Memorial Gates". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  11. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  12. ^ "Bronx Monuments". Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Bronx Zoo". Clivus Multrum. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Composting Toilets, The Bronx Zoo, and Design that's Disgusting". The Poop Culture Blog. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  15. ^ "New GSE Master's Program Approved and Ready To Roar". Fordham University. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  16. ^ "Endangered Leo bound for Bronx". Dawn. Retrieved 31 May 2010. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Pakistan snow leopard cub heads to Bronx". Associated Press. 8 August 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "Bronx Zoo Provides New Home for Pakistani Snow Leopard". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Foderaro, Lisa W. (26 August 2013). "Baby Snow Leopard Born at Bronx Zoo Is Now on Display". NY Times. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  20. ^ "Headlines: Four Little Bears". Bronx Zoo website. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "The Neighborhood News". New York. Dec. 31. 2012-Jan. 7, 2013. 
  23. ^ Oren Yaniv (27 December 2007). "Flashback to death by Bronx Zoo tiger". New York Daily News. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  24. ^ "Death at the Bronx Zoo". TIME. 18 April 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  25. ^ Hayes, Tom (September 22, 2012). "Mauled NY man: I wanted to be one with the tiger". (Chicago Tribune). Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  26. ^ Kevin Dolak (27 March 2011). "Bronx Zoo Reptile House Closed After Poisonous Snake Goes Missing". ABC News. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  27. ^ "Bronx Zoo's Cobra". Twitter. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  28. ^ Jonathan Allen (30 March 2011). "Missing Bronx zoo cobra sparks Twitter following". Reuters. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  29. ^ "Missing Bronx Zoo Egyptian Cobra Finally Captured". WCBS-TV. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  30. ^ O'Connor, Anahad (10 May 2011). "Another Bronx Getaway, This Time Without the Scales". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  31. ^ Paddock, Berry. "Exotic Antelope Gets Big Break When Photographer Finds Her Loose at Bronx Zoo". Daily News (New York). 

External links[edit]