Zoo is home to 13,700 animals and 1,400 species. The Berlin Zoo and its animals are part of local life and most Berliners will be aware of the news of a new arrival.
Rare among city zoos, the Zoologischer Garten was founded in 1844 on the initiative of zoologists Alexander von Humboldt and Martin Lichtenstein and was the first Zoo to be built in Germany. Under Friedrich Wilhelm IV it became a joint project by Martin Lichtenstein and Peter Joseph Lennè who had redesigned the Tiergarten and allocated the southwestern tip of the Tiergarten as a zoological garden. Prior to this a Pheasantry had served the royal kitchen from 1742. The royal family’s private zoo had been on the Pfaueninsel (Pheasant Island) where pheasants can still be seen strutting around.
The zoo collaborates with many universities, research institutes, and other zoos around the world. It maintains and promotes European breeding programmes, helps safeguard several endangered species, and participates in several species reintroduction programs.
Numerous architects worked on the design of the urban habitats for the specific animal. The Antelope House dates back to 1872 and the Elephant House to 1873. The Hippopotamus House (1997) is an example of more modern concepts applied for the well-being of the animals. The hippopotamuses can be viewed beneath the water and the animals are no longer simply on display.
As you will frequently find with Berlin, it has two of everything that most cities have one of. Zoos are no exception, and Berlin is the proud owner of both the Zoologischer Garten (Zoological Garden) and Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde. This anomaly isn’t a penchant amongst Berliners for the superfluous, but a throwback from the Wall days when Berlin was forced to develop as two separate cities, with two sets of everything - one for the East and one for the West.
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