Dublin Zoo – Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction

The Dublin Zoo is located in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, and is the largest zoo located in Ireland as well as the fourth oldest scientific zoo in the world.  It was originally opened in 1831.  Its grounds cover 24 hectares of Phoenix Park and has a habitat for over 235 species that include tropical birds and wild animals.  The zoo is divided into sections, called World of Primates, Fringes of the Arctic, World of Cats, African Plains, Birds, Reptiles, Plants, City Farm, and Endangered Species.  The zoo has close to one million visitors in a year.

The Dublin Zoo is part of program around the world that breeds endangered species, and it is a member of the European Endangered Species Programme.  Dublin Zoo is responsible for managing the European Endangered Species Programme for the Moluccan Cockatoo and the Golden Lion Tamarin.  It also has members of the Goeldi’s monkey and white-faced Saki.

Dublin Zoo

One of the endangered species you can see at the Dublin Zoo is the Rodrigues Fruit Bats, which are very important to the conservation of the rain forest.  Another endangered species is the golden lion tamarin, which is a tiny monkey that has long golden hair around its head like a lion’s mane.  It is one of the rarest primates in the entire world.  It is threatened with extinction, and the Dublin Zoo is involved with this as well as helping to support researchers who study the golden tamarins in Brazil.  A third endangered species at the Dublin Zoo is the Moluccan Cockatoos.  These birds are white with a little pink on their feathers and a pink color on their crest.

Dublin Zoo

The history of the Dublin Zoo began on September 1, 1831 with 46 mammals and 72 birds.  They were all donated from the London Zoo.  The zoo had its first giraffe in 1844, and received its first pair of lions in 1855.  The reptiles received their own house in 1876.  On June 17, of 1903, Sita, an elephant, killed her keeper while he was taking care of her injured foot.  She was then put down.  During the Easter Rising of 1916, there was no meat, so to keep the tigers and lions alive, some of the other animals at the zoo were killed.  On March 20, 1919, a lion named Slats was born and he starred in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film as the mascot in 1928.

African Plains was officially opened in 2001.  It covers 13 hectares.  Some of the animals in this area include African Lions, African Wild Dogs, Bongos, Red River Hogs, White-crowned Mangabeys, White Rhinos, Hippos, Chimpanzees, Giraffes, Ostriches, Zebras, Hyenas, African Buffaloes, and Scimitar-horned Oryx.

Dublin Zoo

In the Fringes of the Arctic, you will not find any polar bears, but you will find three Amur Tigers, which are the largest species of cats around the world, along with arctic foxes, grey wolves, humboldt penguins, and snowy owls.

The Kaziranga Forest Trail is the home of the elephants.  At first there were two Asian Elephants from Chester Zoo in 1991, but they moved to Neunkirchen Zoo in Germany.   A new enclosure has been built that is much larger than that old one.  There were two adult females and the offspring of another that arrived from Rotterdam Zoo.  The first elephant to ever be born in Ireland was born on May 7, 2007.  The new calf was named Asha.  This new enclosure was opened to the public on June 28, 2007 with four elephants.  It has a river, a waterfall, a children’s playground, a partly sheltered viewing area, two feeding areas, two elephant pools, toilets, and a house for visitors to see the elephants.

Dublin Zoo

The World of Primates has monkeys, apes, and Western Lowland Gorillas.  It has been open to the public since 1996.  It has several man-made islands in a natural lake, and the islands are linked with wooden bridges to a sleeping area on the shore of the lake.  Some of these islands have frames for climbing.  There are large viewing windows in the sleeping quarters to give the public access to see the animals.  There are red ruffed lemurs, siamang gibbons, eastern colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, spider monkeys, and Celebes macaques that inhabit the area.  In 2008, an Orangutan had escaped her enclosure and was found on top of the Sumatran Tiger nighthouse when some children saw her.

Dublin Zoo

The World of Cats exhibit opened in 1998 and is the home for jaguars, lions, and snow leopards.  The exhibit for the jaguars has an open top and is twice as large as their previous home.  The snow leopard home is supposed to look like their natural environment, and since it is granite, they blend in, and many visitors have to look very carefully to find them in their camouflage environment.  The snow leopards have had breeding success here.  The Sumatran tigers have a large pool and waterfall in their area.

The City Farm and Pets’ Corner portion of the zoo was finished in 1999.   Here the visitors can get up close to the donkeys, cows, ponies, and goats.  There are also some rare farm breeds, such as the Galway sheep and Kerry Cow.  At the Pets’ Corner, you will also see guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, and canaries.

Dublin Zoo

In the South American house you will see mainly primates which include the three-toed sloths, squirrel monkeys, white-faced saki, Goeldi’s monkeys, red-footed tortoises, and the endangered Golden Lion Tamarin.

The Reptile House has been open since 1876 and has the African Rock Pythons, Nile Crocodiles, small Red-footed tortoises, African spurred tortoises, Desert locusts, and Nile Monitor lizards.