London Zoo was opened on the 27th April 1828 by the Zoological Society of London, which itself was only established in 1826. It is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and was originally intended to house a collection of animals for scientific study. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847. As well as being the first scientific zoo, London Zoo also opened the first Reptile house in 1849, first public Aquarium in 1853, the first insect house in1881 and the first children’s zoo in 1938.
Today a collection of some 800 species of animals can be found. In turn some 19,000 individual mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects are housed making it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom. The Zoo receives no state funding and relies on membership subscriptions from ‘Fellows’ and ‘Friends’ s, entrance fees and sponsorship to generate income.
The zoo is sometimes referred to as Regent’s Park Zoo as it is situated at the northern end of Regent’s Park, on the boundary between the City of Westminster and the Borough of Camden. The Regent’s Canal actually runs through the Zoo.
The Zoological Society of London also has a more spacious site at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire where larger animals such as elephants and rhinos have been moved. Needless to say today an important role is played by the Zoo in preserving endangered species. Conservation both on the ground and in the field is the core of this work. From locating the remaining populations of threatened species to promoting sustainable wildlife-human relations in local communities, the Zoo’s projects address a variety of problems facing wildlife today by using a wide range of solutions.
For further information, opening times and entrance fees go to www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo
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