ZOO Bratislava logo
White lion at ZOO Bratislava
|Date opened||9 May 1960|
|Location||Mlynská dolina 1, Bratislava, Slovakia|
|Land area||96 ha (240 acres)|
|No. of animals||900 (2016)|
|No. of species||175 (2016)|
|Annual visitors||303,365 (2015)|
|Memberships||EAZA, UCSZ, IZE, ISIS, EARAZA|
The ZOO Bratislava (Slovak: Zoologická záhrada Bratislava) is a zoo in Bratislava, Slovakia. It is located in the area of Mlynská dolina in the borough of Karlova Ves on the slopes of the forested hills of Little Carpathians. As of 2016, the zoo has an area of 96 hectares (240 acres) out of which 35 hectares (86 acres) is open to the public, and is home to over 900 specimens of 175 animal species. The zoo receives on average 300,000 visitors annually. It is the only zoo in Bratislava, it is accessible by car with a dedicated parking lot or by public transport (bus stop ZOO) and it is open every day of the year. Major attractions include white lions, white tigers and DinoPark, featuring moving life-sized sculptures of dinosaurs. Out of the 5 major zoos in Slovakia, ZOO Bratislava is the second oldest, second largest and second most visited. ZOO Bratislava was one of the first zoos in Europe that was successful in breeding Eurasian lynx in captivity.
ZOO Bratislava is a general type of zoo and it focuses on breeding and conservation of endangered animal species, scientific and research work, education of the public and providing recreational facilities in the city. It offers educational programs for children and students and allows the public to symbolically adopt an animal from the zoo for a fee. The zoo has a staff of 77 people. Since 1991, the zoo director is Miloslava Šavelová. The zoo is an independent organization of the city of Bratislava (Slovak: príspevková organizácia Hlavného mesta SR Bratislavy).
The zoo is located on a hilly and partially forested terrain. The river Vydrica flows through the zoo area. The area is relatively large and some exhibits are relatively far from each other. Despite a noise-cancelling wall the area struggles with noise from the nearby D2 motorway. All food kiosks in the zoo are closed outside of the summer season.
- Breeding facility for South African lions, Tigers (white form), Jaguar and Sri Lankan leopards
- Primate House for Common chimpanzee and Sumatran orangutan
- Terrarium and exhibit of exotic species with Slender-tailed meerkats, tropical monkeys, sloths, armadillos, and two new fresh water Malawi and Tanganyika aquariums
- Enclosures of rhinoceroses and kangaroos
- Enclosures of zebras and giraffes
- Enclosures of antelopes and pygmy hippopotamuses
- Lakes in a natural style with flamingos and pelicans
A proposal to establish a zoo in Bratislava first appeared in 1948. The first intention was to build a zoo corner within the area of the Park of Culture and Relaxation on the Danube riverfront but later on, taking into consideration the importance of Bratislava as the capital of Slovakia, it was agreed to build a separate breeding and educational institution. At first, in 1949, it was considered to build a zoo in the area of Železná studnička, part of the Bratislava Forest Park. But the experts’ reports had confirmed this location as unsuitable. A new alternative was therefore accepted – to build a zoo in Mlynská dolina which originally covered 9 hectares (22 acres) and was later expanded to 90 hectares (220 acres).
Construction began in 1959 with the help of volunteers and students, and part of the zoo was officially opened on 9 May 1960. During the first decade of the existence of the zoo, there was already some achievement regarding breeding of macaques, baboons, porcupines, nutrias, leopards, pumas and dingos.
The zoo has undergone two major reductions, the first in 1981–1985, as a result of sewage system and motorway feeder construction, which reduced the area of the zoo to one-third, destroying two-thirds of the original exposition area and causing animal relocation within the zoo. As a consequence, a modern enclosure with the largest collection of exotic birds in Czechoslovakia had to be demolished and the birds were sent to other zoos. In 1991, a tiger escaped during the night and was shot within the zoo area. No person was harmed in the incident. In 2002-2003, the new enclosure for Turkmenian kulans, Bactrian camels and Shetland pony was constructed in the forested part of the zoo and the building of a breeding facility for Heptner’s markhor and Barbary sheep had begun.
The second reduction was in 2003, when construction for the D2 motorway access road to the Sitina Tunnel forced a relocation of the entrance gate. Subsequently, the zoo had been closed to the public from December 2003, until the building of a new entrance, parking lot and noise barrier wall was finished. In 2004-2005, development plans of the ZOO Bratislava were accepted by the Bratislava municipal government and the construction of a new enclosure for big cats became one of the city priorities.
In 2004, an exhibition of Central European Mesosoic reptiles—DinoPark—was opened in the central area of the zoo, becoming a major attraction for ZOO Bratislava. At the area of almost 3 hectares (7.4 acres) DinoPark features life-sized sculptures of dinosaurs that are animated during the summer season. It also features a 3D cinema, educational trails and a paleontological playground with fake fossils for children. Since 2006, the area also features a specimen of the rare plant Wollemia.
In 2006, the new big cats pavilion was opened to the public, housing leopards, jaguars, tigers and lions. In 2007, development of the Primate House was started with the official opening in spring 2010. In the spring of 2008, the zoo shop and two playgrounds for children were constructed. Since 2009, ZOO Bratislava is allowed its own commercial business activities. In 2011, the zoo hit a record of 336,661 visitors during that year.
The ZOO Bratislava contains a collection of 175 animal species and approximately 900 animals in total, including many rare and endangered species such as:
- White lion (Panthera leo)
- White tiger with 3 new cubs (Panthera tigris tigris)
- Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya)
- Caracal with two new cubs (Caracal melanotis)
- Jaguar (Panthera onca)
- Brown bear (Ursus arctos)
- Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus)
- Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
- White rhinoceros (Ceratotherim simum simu)
- Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rotschildi)
- Zebra (Equus grevyi)
- Barbary ape (Macaca sylvanus)
- Red panda (Ailurus fulgens)
- Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii)
- Common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
- Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Indoor enclosures feature numerous reptiles, birds and mammals such as:
- Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta)
- Meerkat (Suricata suricatta)
- Golden-handed tamarin (Saguinus midas midas)
- Silvery marmoset with a new baby (Mico argentatus)
- African dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis)
In addition, there are life-sized dinosaur sculptures at the DinoPark.
ZOO Bratislava is a member of the following professional organizations:
- European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) since 1994
- Union of Czech and Slovak Zoological Gardens (UCSZ) since 1990
- International Zoo Educators Association (IZE) since 2000
- International Species Information System (ISIS) since 2001
- Euroasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (EARAZA) since 2010
- "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. EAZA. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- "ZOO Bratislava - History". Bratislava Zoo. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
- "UNIKÁTNE FOTOGRAFIE: Takto pred 55 rokmi budovali bratislavskú zoo" (in Slovak). Teraz.sk. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
- "M. Šavelová: ZOO Bratislava môže chovať aj gorily" (in Slovak). Bratislavské Noviny. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bratislava Zoo.|
- Official website (in Slovak)