Warsaw Zoo

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Warsaw Zoological Garden
Miejski Ogród Zoologiczny w Warszawie
Plan of the Zoo
Date opened 1928[1]–1939, 1948
Location Warsaw, Poland
Coordinates 52°15′28″N 21°01′20″E / 52.25778°N 21.02222°E / 52.25778; 21.02222Coordinates: 52°15′28″N 21°01′20″E / 52.25778°N 21.02222°E / 52.25778; 21.02222
Land area 40 hectares (99 acres)[1]
Number of animals 4203 (1 January 2009)[2]
Number of species 533 (1 January 2009)[2]
Annual visitors 600,000
Memberships EAZA,[3] WAZA[4]
Website www.zoo.waw.pl

The Warsaw Zoological Garden, known simply as the Warsaw Zoo (Polish: Miejski Ogród Zoologiczny w Warszawie) is a scientific zoo on Ratuszowa Street in Warsaw, Poland. The zoo covers about 40 hectares (99 acres) in central Warsaw, and sees 600,000 visitors annually. It is home to over 4,000 animals representing more than 500 species.

The zoo is an accredited member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).


The zoo in 1938

Although the current zoo was opened on 11 March 1928, it roots can be traced to 17th century private menageries, often open to the public. King Jan Sobieski III kept a court menagerie in Wilanów, and the 19th century saw several private zoos opened in the city.[5][6]

M. Pągowski opened a small zoo on Koszykowa Street in 1926, and moved this zoo to a new 10,000-square-metre (110,000 sq ft) area on Maja Avenue in 1927. The construction of the 32-hectare (79-acre) City Zoological Garden was started in 1927 as well. In November 1927 the zoo gained a director when Wenanty Burdziński, former director and founder of the zoological garden in Kiev, was appointed to the post. Construction of the zoo was fast, and the zoo was opened in March 1928, with some animals purchased from M. Pągowski and some donated by the Pedagogical Museum, which had a small zoo on its premises.[5] Animals resident at the zoo when it opened included lions, tigers, and a female Indian elephant named Kasia.[6]

Wenanty Burdziński died of acute pneumonia before the end of 1928, and Jan Żabiński was appointed director. Before World War II, Jan oversaw the creation of several exhibits including the monkey house, elephant house, enclosures for antelopes, a seal pond, and the giraffe barn.[6] He was director of the zoo until 1939, was re-appointed in 1949, and continued in the post until 1951.[7]

In 1937 the zoos female elephant Kasia gave birth to the first Indian elephant born in a Polish zoo.[6]

World War II

The zoo was bombed in September 1939, and many animals died. After the surrender of Warsaw to the Germans, most of the remaining animals were taken to Germany and the zoo was closed. During World War II, Jan Żabiński, the director, together with his wife Antonina and their son Ryszard, saved more than 200 Jews from the Holocaust. Jan Żabinski was seriously injured during the 1944 Warsaw uprising, and taken prisoner. When he returned, animals started being reintroduced to the zoo, which was reopened in 1949.[8][9]


Tiger enclosure

This 6,000-square-metre (65,000 sq ft) exhibit was opened in 2003, and includes two outdoor pools, an indoor pool, and individual indoor paddocks and an indoor walk for the African elephants.[2][5] As of 2012, it houses one male and three female elephants.[10]

Hippopotamus House & Shark Aquarium

Opened in April 2010, this facility has both an outdoor and indoor pool for the Hippos. The indoor hippo pool includes a large glass area where visitors can watch the hippos underwater. Past the hippo pool and in a shaded room is a 100,000-litre (26,000 US gal) salt water tank, which is the largest single fish tank in Poland. The aquarium includes the only sand tiger shark in Poland, as well other fishes including, Arabian carpet sharks, Zebrasoma species, yellow tang, and other reef species.[11][12]

Ape House

The Ape House was opened in September 2008, and is home to the zoo's gorillas and chimpanzees. As of 2012, the zoo was home to 2 gorillas and 9 chimpanzees. Visitors can observe the apes from large indoor paths surrounded by water, or from outside the building, separated from the apes by glass.[2][13]


  1. ^ a b "Warsaw Zoo". zoo.waw.pl. Warsaw Zoo. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Guide". zoo.waw.pl. Warsaw Zoo. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Zoos and Aquariums of the World". waza.org. World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "New Zoo Revue". www.warsawvoice.pl. The Warsaw Voice. 24 April 2003. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d Vernon N. Kisling, ed. (2000). Zoo and aquarium history: ancient animal collections to zoological gardens. CRC Press. pp. 118–119. ISBN 0-8493-2100-X. 
  7. ^ "History". zoo.waw.pl. Warsaw Zoo. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Ackerman, Diane (2007). The Zookeeper's Wife. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-06172-7. 
  9. ^ Fox, Frank (2001). "Endangered Species: Jews and Buffaloes". zwoje-scrolls.com. Zwoji. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Warsaw Zoo (Ogrod Zoologiczny Warsaw) in Poland". elephant.se. Elephant Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  11. ^ "Welcome to the new Hipopotarium and Shark Aquarium!". zoo.waw.pl. Warsaw Zoo. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Teisseyre, Krzysztof; Borecka, Agata; Grzegorz, Soszka (17 June 2010). "Sharks Arrive at Warsaw Zoo". www.warsawvoice.pl. The Warsaw Voice. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  13. ^ "Warsaw Zoo". warsawtour.pl. Warsaw Tourist office. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 

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