The Berlin Zoo is the most visited zoo in Europe, with about 3.0 million visitors per year from all over the world. It is open all year long and can easily be reached by public transportation. The Berlin Zoologischer Garten railway station (also simply known as Zoo) is one of Berlin’s most important stations. Several modes of transport such as U-Bahn, S-Bahn and buses are interlinked here. Visitors can either enter the zoo through the exotically designed Elephant Gate beside the aquarium on Budapester Straße or through the Lion Gate on Hardenbergplatz.
The zoo maintains studbooks for black and Indian rhinoceroses and gaurs. The populations of rare deer and pigs are part of several captive breeding projects. Berlin Zoo supports conservationists in other countries (for instance, in Madagascar) and as a partner of the Stiftung Artenschutz (species protection foundation).Most of the animals are housed in enclosures designed to recreate their natural habitat.
The carnivore house displays all big cats and many rare small predators, such as ring-tailed mongooses and narrow-striped mongooses from Madagascar. In the basement, visitors are invited to a view into the world of nocturnal animals.
The bird house presents a walk-through aviary and offers a broad variety of forms, including several regularly breeding species of hornbills and many parrots. Numerous big aviaries show waders, herons and many other species. The Berlin zoo is one of the few zoos to exhibit Tuatara and Luzon Tarictic Hornbills.
The Aquarium, which was built in 1913 as part of the Zoologischer Garten complex.
The polar bear Knut was born in captivity at the Zoo on 5 December 2006. Rejected by his mother at birth, he was subsequently raised by zookeepers and became the center of a mass media phenomenon that spanned the globe, quickly spawning numerous toys, media specials, DVDs, and books. Because of this, the cub was largely responsible for a significant increase in revenue, estimated at about five million euros, at the Berlin Zoo in 2007. Zoo attendance figures for the year increased by an estimated 30 percent making it the most profitable year in its 165-year history. Knut died on 19 March 2011 after collapsing in his exhibit.
Bao Bao (born 1978) was the only Giant Panda in a German zoo and the eldest known Giant Panda in a zoo worldwide. Like many of his kind, he was on a permanent loan from China for breeding purposes. In spite of several artificial insemination experiments with a female named Yan Yan (who died in captivity in 2007), there were no offspring. Bao Bao died on 22 August 2012.
Photos by Liana Foryou.