The celebrations were held in the spirit of the 1930s. The ceremonial procession came in period costumes, the book was christened, the Trojan tolar was introduced and the sea lion Meloun was christened the board game. As the deputy head of the Prague Zoo, Jaroslav Šimek, reminded us, there were originally a small number of animals.
“Less than thirty species and several dozen individuals. Probably the most exotic animal of that time was the African lioness Šárka. There were several European wolves, a fox, a badger, rather the species from the Czech fauna than we are used to today, exotic animals.”
Ninety years is a long time from the point of view of human life and institutions. The zoo has undergone a huge transformation. On the contrary, there are places that are largely similar to when opened.
“Not far from the main entrance to the zoo is a paddock where red pandas now live. It was already here when the garden was founded. There were no pandas here, but there were wolves and later bears. As well as a predatory aviary. material, because it collapsed in the meantime due to wet snow, but it was basically the same size and in the same place when it was opened. So even now some elements of history can be found. “
The flood marked a milestone in the development of the zoo
One of the most difficult moments for the Prague Zoo was the flood in 2002. Since then, the Prague Zoo has fundamentally changed. At that time, the entire lower part was affected by the flood. Some pavilions have not been restored, others have undergone major renovations, such as the pavilion of penguins, gorillas, large felines. As Jaroslav Šimek reminded us, the zoo began to develop in a completely new concept.
“Wherever possible, iron fences and grilles have been removed and replaced by other barrier elements, such as dry ditches, where there is no visible barrier between the visitor’s and the animal’s view. “No matter how tragic the situation, it kicked the garden into further development. “
During the flood, for example, a male elephant had to be killed and could not be evacuated to safety. Subsequently, a new pavilion for elephants was created. A pavilion for gorillas is being prepared, the director of the zoo, Miroslav Bobek, explained the plans.
“We are completing a new gorilla pavilion, and in ten years the Arctic, a new area for polar bears and other Nordic animals, should be added. Furthermore, the Amazon, respectively the exhibition unit dedicated to South and Central America. It would also change on the beaches, we are already starting to rebuild them. “
The zoo has been associated with Převalský’s horses from the very beginning
As Deputy Jaroslav Šimek reminded, the zoo is involved in a number of projects to save endangered species.
“It’s a project that involves Převalský’s horses. This is the species with which the Prague Zoo has been connected from the very beginning. Already in the year of the zoo’s opening, the first pair of these unique, rare, wild horses will appear here. Stallion Ali and mare Minka. And since then we have another breeding of these horses. During World War II, apart from the Munich Zoo, we were the only institution in the world that kept these horses breeding. “
The Prague Zoo also maintains their international studbook and since 2011 has been returning horses to their original homelands in Mongolia. Another educational project is related to gorillas and is intended for children in Cameroon, in places adjacent to the biosphere reserve.
“This project of a wandering bus transports children from the villages is their teachers to other educational facilities, to rescue stations for primates, where they have the opportunity to undergo educational programs in a fun way. I dare say that it is an opportunity for those children to see live for the first time. gorilla, to realize its beauty, its role in the natural ecosystem. “
Simply put, the aim of this project is to reduce poaching.