Dudley Zoo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dudley Zoo
Dudley zoo logo.gif
Dudley Zoo entrance, pic 2, England.jpg
Date opened 1937 (1937)
Location Dudley, West Midlands, England
Coordinates 52°30′50.18″N 2°4′37.68″W / 52.5139389°N 2.0771333°W / 52.5139389; -2.0771333Coordinates: 52°30′50.18″N 2°4′37.68″W / 52.5139389°N 2.0771333°W / 52.5139389; -2.0771333
Land area 40 acres (16 ha)
No. of animals 940 (2006)
No. of species 163 (2006)[1]
Major exhibits Tigers, Chimpanzees, Lemur Wood
Website www.dudleyzoo.org.uk

Dudley Zoological Gardens is a 40-acre (16 ha) zoo located within the grounds of Dudley Castle in the town of Dudley, in the Black Country region of the West Midlands, England. The Zoo opened to the public on 18 May 1937.[2] Dudley Zoo is owned and operated by Dudley and West Midlands Zoological Society, founded in 1935 and a registered charity.[3]


An orangutan
A tiger

In 2003, in common with other urban zoos, Dudley parted with their two female African elephants so that they could benefit from more spacious surroundings. The remaining large animals include giraffes, tigers, lions, reindeer, wallabies, and three snow leopards, the latest being born in May 2013. Primates are well represented, and there are several aviaries and a reptile house. The zoo has over 1,000 animals from over 200 species; most of these are endangered and are the product of captive breeding programmes.

There was a time where the Dudley Zoo housed polar bears. It was once home to Cuddles, a male orca, or killer whale. He was housed at the zoo from 1971, until his death in February 1974. The dolphin and whale pools were modified seal and sea lions pools with the walls being built up to create more depth. However, these plans fell foul of the local planning laws and the zoo was ordered to return the pools to the original state. As the zoo was not prepared to invest in new purpose built pools the whale Cuddles was put up for sale, but died before being moved, from long-term gastro-intestinal problems. The pools were returned to their original design and now house sea lions.[4]

The zoo is currently expanding its education department with a variety of workshops available for schools.


Big cats



One of the modernist structures at Dudley Zoo

The zoo buildings include twelve listed buildings, seven Grade II and five Grade II*, erected in 1937 by Berthold Lubetkin's Tecton Group which employed, among others, structural engineer Ove Arup. Most of the zoo buildings are art deco in style.[7][8][9][10]

In 2011, the zoo announced refurbishment and renovation plans for the zoo's listed buildings and parts of the zoo itself; totalling £1.15 million. Initial funding for the project has been met by the Heritage Lottery Fund.[11]

In January 2013, newly released construction proposals indicate the entrance to the zoo will connect with the Black Country Museum and the Dudley Canal Trust, creating a single entrance for the three attractions.[12] The new entrance was completed in September 2015.[13] Focus will then shift to the bear pits, which zoo officials say will be renovated to provide "a dramatic backdrop in the landscape".[14] This was the subject of an investigation by the Born Free Foundation in 2012.[15]

Artistic connections[edit]

Tropical Bird House, Dudley Zoo (c. 1939, by Percy Shakespeare)

A painting by Percy Shakespeare, Tropical Bird House, Dudley Zoo (c.1939), is in Dudley Museum and Art Gallery.[16]

In 2015, 89-year-old artist Rama Samaraweera, who was inspired to paint while a keeper at Dudley Zoo, donated three original oil paintings to the zoo to express his gratitude. His painting Clouded Leopard was a best-selling print in America in the 1970s.[17]


Access to Dudley Castle, a Grade I listed building built in the 11th century, is included in the zoo entrance fee.


A visitor chairlift was erected between the zoo's entrance and the castle in 1958. It was taken out of use in 2000 due to health and safety concerns. In August 2012 the chairlift was reopened after a 12-week, £117,000 restoration which included returning it to its original light cream colour.[18][19]


  1. ^ "Dudley Zoo Annual Review 2006". dudleyzoo.org.uk. Dudley Zoo. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Worldwide plea over Dudley Zoo buildings". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Charity Commission. DUDLEY AND WEST MIDLANDS ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY LIMITED, registered charity no. 507221. 
  4. ^ "Dudley Zoo - Dolphins & Whales: 1971 - 1974". marineanimalwelfare.com. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Asiatic black bear". 
  6. ^ "Bornean orangutan". 
  7. ^ "Endangered species—Dudley Zoo's Tectons on WMF Watchlist". riskybuildings.org.uk. The Twentieth Century Society. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "Building of the Month: Dudley Zoo". riskybuildings.org.uk. The Twentieth Century Society. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Flatman, Ben. "Tekton's Dudley Zoo". benflatman.com. Ben Flatman. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Anna Keay speaks to Ben Flatman about Dudley Zoo and Berthold Lubetkin's buildings (short film)". youtube.com. YouTube. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "All systems go for zoo revamp". .dudleynews.co.uk. Dudley News. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "New-look Dudley Zoo entrance unveiled". Express & Star. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Making an entrance!". 
  14. ^ "Dudley Zoo revamp will start next year". Express & Star. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Animals in British zoos live in conditions 'as bad as those in the former Soviet Bloc'". Daily Mail. 7 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "Tropical Bird House, Dudley Zoo". BBC Online. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "Fired and inspired: Gift for Dudley Zoo from artist". Express & Star. 26 September 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  18. ^ "Dudley Zoo chairlift to reopen after work". Express & Star. 
  19. ^ "Zoo's iconic chairlift to re-launch today". .dudleynews.co.uk. Dudley News. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 

External links[edit]