Hanover Zoo

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Erlebnis-Zoo Hannover
(Hannover Adventure Zoo)
Entrance to the Hanover Zoo
Date opened May 4, 1865
Location Hanover, Germany
Coordinates 52°22′50″N 9°46′16″E / 52.380537°N 9.771062°E / 52.380537; 9.771062Coordinates: 52°22′50″N 9°46′16″E / 52.380537°N 9.771062°E / 52.380537; 9.771062
Land area 22 hectares (54 acres)[1]
Number of animals 3414 (2010)[1]
Number of species 237 (2010)[1]
Annual visitors 1,600,000 (2010)
Memberships EAZA,[2] EAZA[3]
Website www.zoo-hannover.de

Hanover Zoo is located in the city centre of Hanover, Germany. The zoo was established on 4 May 1865, and comprises an area of 22 hectares. Currently, it is home to about 3,414 animals in 237 species, which are cared for by more than 400 employees in the summer season (stocktaking 2010).


Hanover Zoo is the fifth oldest German zoo. It was established in 1865 with private money. To cover expenses, a stock company was founded. Without any experience in the keeping of wild animals, the company faced huge difficulties and, thus, losses. Nonetheless, it was well visited by local residents.

Due to the consequences of World War I, ever increasing subsidies by the government were needed to keep the zoo open. In 1920, the city took over. But in 1922, when the zoo was no longer financially viable, it was closed. Two years later, in 1924, due to public pressure and private commitment by the animal trading company Ruhe, it was re-opened with a lions' canyon and monkey rock. In 1932, Ruhe completely took over the zoo and used it as a showcase for their pet shop. Often, the animals could only be seen for a few weeks before they were sold.

During World War II, the zoo was badly damaged. In 1946, Ruhe restored parts of the zoo provisionally and only a few animals could be seen until the reopening in 1950. Over the years to come and with funding from the municipal budget, new enclosures were built for rhinos, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, seals, and penguins. At this time, Hanover Zoo was renowned for its elephant breeding program: 10 Asian and 3 African elephants were born. In 1972, the zoo once again was taken over by the city of Hanover.

Concept Zoo 2000[edit]

In the early 1990s, the zoo was in a deep crisis, facing ever falling visitor numbers. In 1994, it was converted into a limited company and sold to Hanover Region and work on a completely new concept started the next year. In just 15 years, Zoo Hannover GmbH’s ‘Zoo of the Future’ World Exposition Project has revolutionized the European zoo world. 111.9 million € has since been invested to transform a decaying municipal zoological garden into today’s Adventure Zoo.

Since the year 2000, more than a million people visit the zoo annually. In 2005, the Winter-Zoo was introduced, in 2007, the children's paradise Mollywoop was opened, in spring 2010, the Australian Outback and in May 2010, the seventh theme world followed. With the opening of the Canadian theme world “Yukon Bay”, a world record of five Asian baby elephants in one calendar year, and the 2009/10 ‘Best Zoo’ award, Hannover Adventure Zoo is nowadays one of the leading zoos in Germany. More than 1.6 million visitors each year are enchanted by seven unique theme worlds.

Theme worlds[edit]

Zambezi boats on the artificial river. Water ride type : Tow boat ride.
A mandarin duck and with the Jungle Palace mirrored in the lake

The different zoo worlds give people the chance to experience animals in scenic settings, without visible barriers, that meet the needs of both animals and visitors. A 5 km long explorer path leads through the different animal kingdoms:

  • Zambezi: Zambezi recreates the African savannah. An artificial river runs right alongside the giraffes, rhinoceros, flamingos, etc. living in this part of the zoo. Starting at the authentic trading post with on-foot views of the above-mentioned animals, visitors travel in small boats for about ten minutes down the river before continuing on foot to the Lion, Hippo, Flamingo, and Pelican, Meerkat and Sahara desert Hoofstock Exhibit. At the “Sahara Conservation Visitor Center”, information on the Zoo’s Addax reintroduction project is on show.
  • Gorilla Mountain: On the highest point of the zoo, at the end of the evolution trail featuring dioramas of early humans and an abandoned research camp, gorillas inhabit a spectacular forest landscape - lush vegetation, a bubbling stream and a thundering waterfall recreate the East African homeland of these gentle giants. At the foot of the mountain the gibbons, smallest of the apes, live on an island. Chimpanzees, other apes, and a sloth can be seen as well.
  • Yukon Bay: An old mine shaft leads to the Canadian theme world Yukon Bay, where wolves, caribous, prairie dogs, and bisons can be seen. In the harbour, Henry’s Underwater World in the hull of the sunken “Yukon Queen” allows for unique glimpses of diving polar bears, seals, and penguins. Yukon Bay was built in collaboration with the Yukon Territory (Canada).[4]
  • Jungle Palace: An Indian rainforest exhibit themed as an abandoned Hindu temple with Asian elephants, tigers, leopards, hanuman langurs, and snakes.
  • Outback: The red shimmering Australian outback is home to an exhibit themed as a farm featuring kangaroos, wombats, emus, wallabies, and a flock of Australian birds in an aviary themed as a pub.
  • Mullewapp (Mollywoop: Mullewapp is a children’s paradise with petting meadow, a secret biology room, toboggans, etc. and home to meet and greets with the “Three Friends” by author Helme Heine.
  • Meyers Farm: Seven old Lower Saxony half-timbered buildings dating back to the 19th century and before, re-erected in the zoo, create the setting for Meyer's Farm and are home to rare old domestic breeds like red and white Husum protest pigs, Pomeranian rough-wool sheep, and sturdy Ex-moor ponies.

Winter-Zoo: During the Christmas season, the theme worlds Meyer's Farm, Mollywoop, and Yukon Bay become a magical winter wonderland resplendent with fairy lights and stars and lots of attractions for all the family, such as ice-skating, ice curling, nostalgic round-abouts, and toboggans.

Zoo Concept[edit]

Several animal shows and commented feedings, a free boat ride down Zambezi river, Henry’s Underwater World in Yukon Bay, a petting zoo, jungle paths, evolution trail, guided tours for groups, huge adventure playgrounds and regional specialties in every zoo world are a vital part of the Zoo’s concept.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Animals, People, Sensations". zoo-hannover.de. Zoo Hannover GMBH. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. EAZA. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Zoos and Aquariums of the World". waza.org. WAZA. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Canada in Lower Saxony". magazine-deutschland.de. Magazine-Deutschland. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Hanover Adventure Zoo: the shape of zoos to come". zoo-hannover.de. Zoo Hannover GMBH. Retrieved 8 February 2011. 

External links[edit]