|Land area||89 ha (220 acres)|
|Number of animals||14,500|
|Number of species||950|
The Beijing Zoo (simplified Chinese: 北京动物园; traditional Chinese: 北京動物園; pinyin: běi jīng dòng wù yuán) is a zoological park in Beijing, China. Located in Xicheng District, the zoo occupies an area of 89 hectares (220 acres), including 5.6 hectares (14 acres) hectares of lakes and ponds. It is one of the oldest zoos in China and has one of the largest animal collections in the country. The zoo and its aquarium has over 450 species of land animals and over 500 species of marine animals. In all, it is home to 14,500 animals. More than six million visitors come to the zoo each year. The zoo was founded in 1906 during the late Qing dynasty. Like many of Beijing's parks, the zoo's grounds resemble classical Chinese gardens, with flower beds amidst natural scenery, including dense groves of trees, stretches of meadows, small streams and rivers, lotus pools and hills dotted with pavilions and historical buildings.
The Beijing Zoo is best known for its collection of rare animals endemic to China including the giant pandas, which are zoo's most popular animals, the golden snub-nosed monkey, South China tiger, white-lipped deer, Pere David's deer, crested ibis, Chinese alligator and the Chinese giant salamander. Other endangered or threatened species include Siberian tiger, yak, Przewalski's horse, snow leopard, Tibetan gazelle, and kiang.
The zoo also has a broad collection of megafauna such as lions, jaguars, clouded leopards, Asian and African elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, black bears, polar bears, tapirs, sea turtles, penguins, gorillas, chimpanzees, kangaroos, muntjac, addax, zebras, otters, bats, flamingos and lemurs. The Beijing Zoo has 13 of the world's 15 species of cranes.
The zoo is also a center of zoological research that studies and breeds rare animals from various continents.
The zoo grounds was originally an imperial manor during the Ming dynasty that became part of the estate of the general Fuk'anggan during the Qing dynasty. In 1906, the Imperial Ministry for Agricultural, Industry and Commerce established an experimental farm, which held a small menagerie. The Viceroy of Liangjiang, Duanfang, purchased a batch animals from Germany and deposited them there. The animal collection attracted great interest when the farm opened to visitors in 1908. Empress Dowager Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor both visited the zoo twice. The farm was known as the Wanshouyuan or the "Garden of Ten Thousand Beasts".
Among the historical buildings at the zoo is Changguanlou, a Baroque-style country-palace of Empress Dowager Cixi designed by a French architect and built in 1908, and it remains one of the best preserved Western-style palaces in China.
After the Qing dynasty was overthrown in 1911, the zoo became a national botanical garden during the Republican period. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, many of the zoo's animals died of starvation and some were poisoned by the Imperial Japanese Army. Only 13 monkeys and one old emu survived the war. In the 1930s, with French aid, Lamarck Hall, named after the botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, was built at the experimental farm and housed plant research.
After Beijing became the capital of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the city government renamed the Beijing Agricultural Experimentation Center the Western Suburban Park (西郊公园), and began gradually rebuilding the zoo. In 1952, national leaders Mao Zedong, Zhu De, and Ren Bishi donated their war horses to the park. The park was renamed the Beijing Zoo in 1955. The zoo sent staff to study zoo management in the Soviet Union and Poland, and began to trade animals with Eastern Bloc countries, Japan, Burma, India, and Indonesia to expand its collection. Leading Chinese universities also established research presence in the zoo to study animal behavior and to breed endangered species.
The zoo's development came to an abrupt halt during the Cultural Revolution as zoo staff were purged, research work stopped and contacts with foreign zoos were severed. In the 1970s, as China forged diplomatic relations with the Western bloc, the zoo received animal gifts from the United States, France, United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Australia. The zoo also organized a four-year mission to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, which brought back 157 species and 1,000 animals including giraffe, African elephant, zebra, wildebeest, oryx, ostrich, Thomson's gazelle and Grant's gazelle, giant tortoises, baboon, and aardvark.
During the 1984 Summer Olympics, the Beijing Zoo sent a pair of giant pandas, Yingxin and Yong Yong to Los Angeles for an exhibition. In 1987, Yong Yong and Ling Ling went on exhibition at the Bronx Zoo.
The zoo has developed rapidly since 1955. Bears, elephants, pandas, lions, tigers, songbirds, hippos, rhinoceroses, antelopes and giraffes were brought in the late 1950s, and gorilla and monkey cages and an aquarium house were opened. The reptile house contains specimens of over 100 species of reptiles from all over the world, including crocodiles and pythons.
The buildings in the zoo cover an area of more than 50,000 square meters, including the monkey hall, the panda hall, the lion and tiger hall, the elephant hall, and many others. Altogether there are more than 30 large halls.
Visitors to the Zoo can also explore its many Qing dynasty buildings.
The Aquarium, which is considered part of the zoo, was opened to the public in 1999. It is the biggest aquarium in China. In addition to a wide range of fish species, visitors can watch shows performed by dolphins and sea lions.
Location and access
The Beijing Zoo is located at 137 Xizhimen Wai Dajie in Xicheng District, just west of the northwest corner of the 2nd Ring Road. Outside the zoo is a local public transit hub with Beijing Zoo Station on Line 4 of the Beijing Subway and terminals for Beijing Bus routes 7, 15, 19, 102, and 103. Bus routes 27, 105, 107, 111, 206, 209, 347, 601, 632, and 732 also stop at the zoo.
The Beijing Planetarium is located diagonally across the street from the zoo's main entrance. To the west of the zoo is the Purple Bamboo Park. To the east is the Beijing Exhibition Center and the Moscow Restaurant.
According to an article by The Guardian in 2010, a restaurant located in the Beijing Zoo named "Bin Feng Tang" offers various dishes of exotic animals on its menu. The restaurant manager commented that its dishes were within the law as the animal products were supplied by exotic animal farms. However the restaurant has received a backlash since the news spread. Ge Rui of the International Wildlife Fund describes it as "utterly inappropriate for a zoo" and "socially irresponsible." Following the negative coverage, the restaurant stated they would be revising the menu.
- (Chinese)  Accessed 2012-04-06
- Jonathan Watts (2010-05-21). "Hippopotamus on menu at Beijing zoo | Environment | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
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