The zoo was inaugurated in 1967 with a focus on Afghan fauna, being very popular with visitors and press. The zoo once had more than 500 animals with about 150,000 visitors coming to see them in 1972. The zoo suffered significant damage during the long civil war in Afghanistan; the aquarium was damaged by shelling, and combatants took the deer and rabbits for food.
As of 2010[update], the zoo has about 280 animals, which includes 45 species of birds and mammals and 36 species of fish. Among the animals there are two lions (who replaced Marjan after his death in 2002) and Afghanistan's only pig. As many as 10,000 people visit during the weekends. The zoo employed a staff of 60 to care for the animals as of 2003[update]. It is a popular place for Kabulis.
Donations and assistance
The Chinese government, a primary donor of animals, has expressed concerns about the safety of the animals it has already donated to Afghanistan. In 2004/2005, one male bear and one deer died, apparently from diseases and improper nutrition. Chinese authorities say they will not donate any more animals to Kabul until conditions improve. The North Carolina Zoo in the United States has funded and supervised many projects at the Kabul Zoo, including improvements to housing of the animals such as climbing structures and standoff barriers, with additional help in creating a business plan for the zoo. David Jones, director of the North Carolina Zoo is currently trying to help send Kabul Zoo staff to India for training.
- "History of Kabul Zoo", World Zoos, International Zoo Educators Association, retrieved 2009-05-07
- Motevalli, Golnar (2009-05-05), Afghanistan's only pig quarantined in flu fear, Reuters, retrieved 2009-05-07
- Kabul Zoo provides a haven for humans by Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2010.
- Medley, Dominic; Barrand, Jude (June 2003), "What to see", The Survival Guide to Kabul, Bradt Travel Guides, retrieved 2009-05-07
- Worst behaved at the Kabul Zoo - the humans, Christian Science Monitor, 2005-08-11, retrieved 2009-05-07
- Jones, David M. (2005-09-08), Update on the Kabul Zoo Story, North Carolina Zoo Society, retrieved 2009-05-07