After the birth of a female Asian Elephant calf at Dublin Zoo, our family paid a visit with friends to see the Asian beauty.
Dublin Zoo is the largest zoo in Ireland, situated in the Phoenix Park, it is one of the most popular attractions in Dublin. It opened its doors on September 1 1831 and its mission statement is to “work in partnership with zoos worldwide to make a significant contribution to the conservation of the endangered species on Earth.”
When it opened to the public in 1831, London Zoo had donated 46 mammals and 72 birds. Since then it has grown, with its first giraffe in 1844 and first pair of lions in 1855 and reptiles got their own house in 1876. In 1838 an open day was held in honour of the Queen Victoria’s coronation, where a record number of 20,000 people visited that day. With 69 acres of Phoenix Park, the zoo is divided into areas such as the Asian Forests, Orangutan Forest, The Kaziranga Forest Trail, Fringes of the Arctic, Seal Lion Cove, African Plains, House of Reptiles, City Farm and South American House.
Tragedy struck on 17 June 1903 when an elephant named Sita killed her keeper as he nursed her injured foot. She was put down by members of the Royal Irish Constabulary. This was one of many as the Easter Rising of 1916 caused problems when the zoo ran out of meat, forcing employees to kill other animals just to keep lions and tigers alive. A lion named Slats was born in the zoo on 20 March 1919 and according to Dublin Zoo he was one of many lions filmed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio in 1928 to be used as their mascot Leo.
Between the dates of 1989 and 1990, the financial situation of the zoo got so bad that the council considered closing it until a government grant came through permitting 32 acres of land to be added in 1997, giving the animals more space to roam.
In 2015, Dublin Zoo was the third most popular visitor attraction in Ireland with 1,105,005 visitors. The RTE documentary The Zoo is filmed on location at Dublin Zoo most of the time.
The Reptile House
To escape the rain we entered the Reptile House which opened in 1876, and it housed the snappy Nile crocodiles, the slow moving, Pancake tortoises, plated lizards, the scary Burmese pythons and the chilling Chilean rose tarantulas as well as other creepy crawlies.
Jorong the Orangutan Hero
In 2008, an Orangutan was seen rescuing an injured moorhen chick from a pond by coaxing the bird ashore with a leaf and lifting it onto grass. In 2011, this became known to the public when it was posted on a you tube video clip.
As time was precious, we did not get a chance to visit the farm, which used to be called City Farm. However, on a previous visit I had seen all these wonderful creatures. The farm was opened in 1999, but re-developed in 2010 and the aim was to teach the public about modern Irish farming.
Sea Lion Cove
My favourite area of the zoo has to be the new Sea Lion Cove habitat which opened in June 2015. I could have watched these sleek animals diving in and out of the water for hours. It houses the California sea lions, which consist of three females, Cassie, Florence and Seanna and one male Nico.
A day out at Dublin Zoo is not only a fun day but an educational one for all the family.
For more information log on to http://www.dublinzoo.ie