- This article is about the zoo. For the templer settlement, see Wilhelma, Palestine
Wilhelma in 1900
|Date opened||1919 (as a botanical garden)
1951 (first animal exhibit)
|Location||Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany|
|Land area||30 ha (74 acres)|
|Number of animals||>8,000|
|Number of species||>1,000|
|Annual visitors||2.1 million (2006)|
Wilhelma (help·info), built as a royal palace, is now a 30-hectare (74-acre) zoo and botanical garden in the northern suburbs of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is Europe's only large combined zoological and botanical garden, and is home to over 8,000 animals representing more than 1,000 different species, as well as more than 5,000 species of plants.
The upper section of the zoo includes an impressive stand of sequoia trees.
The zoo immediately adjoins a public park to its west, laid out in the 'English landscape style' of rolling grass and informal groups of trees. In landscape terms this perfectly complements the landscape of the zoo.
The Wilhelma was originally a royal palace, in Moorish Revival style, and echoes such buildings as the Alhambra Palace. Besides animals and plants, the Wilhelma is therefore also worth visiting for its architecture, which is intact from the mid-19th century.
After being closed to the public during World War II, Wilhelma was opened again in 1949 with an azalea show, followed by the "Great Aquarium Show." In 1951, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and penguins arrive as special exhibitions, but are kept after the exhibition ends, starting the animal collection. Elephants and tigers arrive in 1952.
The zoo is famous for keeping all four kinds of great apes (bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas), all in families with offspring, as well as for its aquarium featuring animals and plants from all over the world. The botanical gardens contain Europe's biggest magnolia grove. It was also the home of the polar bear Wilbär.
As is common in many German zoos, barriers between spectators and animals are minimal. The bird enclosures let visitor enter and wander among the birds in a landscaped environment.
There is an extensive insectarium on the grounds. There are many types of insects grown and kept live for the public to see, including African colored scarab beetles, among many others. There are butterflies, spiders, millipedes, and several beetle species that are continually cultivated and kept living, by breeding generation after generation of the individual species of choice.
Breeding and conservation
A particularly unusual feature is the "hatchery" where chicks can be watched hatching and mother birds feed their chicks at very close quarters.
The zoo has become a center for raising motherless apes from all over Europe.
Breeding of invasive plant
The aquarium staff was responsible for inadvertently breeding a strain of Caulerpa taxifolia, such that it became a highly invasive plant known as "Killer Algae" which "has had severe negative consequences for biodiversity".
The zoo sits next to a main arterial route from the city centre and is easily accessed by car. The road can be very busy on holidays and weekends.
A tram line (U14) connects the zoo to the city centre.
The new ape house
The new ape house opened on May 15, 2013.
- "Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten Wilhelma". zoo-infos.de. Zoo-Infos. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "20th Century". wilhelma.de. Wilhelma. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "21st Century". wilhelma.de. Wilhelma. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- "Apes and Sea Lions". wilhelma.de. Wilhelma. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
- Pierre Madl and Maricella Yip (2005). "Literature Review of Caulerpa taxifolia". sbg.ac.at. University of Salzburg. Retrieved 18 May 2009.