Hanover Zoo is located in the city centre of Hanover, Germany. The zoo was established on 4 May 1865, and comprises an area of 22 hectares. It contains about 3,414 animals in 237 species, which are cared for by more than 400 employees in the summer season.
Hanover Zoo is the fifth oldest German zoo. It was established
in 1865 with private money. To cover expenses, a stock company was
founded. Without any experience in the keeping of wild animals, the
company faced significant difficulties and, as a result, losses. It
was often visited by local residents.
Due to the consequences of World War I, ever increasing
subsidies by the government were needed to keep the zoo open. In
1920, the city took over, but in 1922, when the zoo was no longer
financially viable, it was closed. Two years later, in 1924, due to
public pressure and private commitment by the animal trading
company Ruhe, it was re-opened with a lions' canyon and monkey
rock. In 1932, Ruhe completely took over the zoo and used it as a
showcase for their pet shop. Often, the animals were only exhibited
for a few weeks before they were sold.
During World War II, the zoo was badly damaged. In 1946, Ruhe
restored parts of the zoo provisionally and few animals could be
seen until the reopening in 1950. As time passed and with funding
from the municipal budget, new enclosures were built for rhinos,
elephants, giraffes, antelopes, seals, and penguins. At this time,
Hanover Zoo was renowned for its elephant breeding program: 10
Asian and 3 African elephants were born. In 1972, the zoo was again
taken over by the city of Hanover.
In the early 1990s, the zoo had continuously falling visitor
numbers. In 1994, it was converted into a limited company and sold
to Hanover Region and work on a new concept started the next year.
€111.9 million has since been invested in the zoo's
Since 2000, more than a million people have visited the zoo
annually. In 2005, the Winter-Zoo was introduced, in 2007, the
children's paradise Mollywoop was opened, in spring 2010, the
Australian Outback and in May 2010, the seventh theme world
followed. A Canadian theme world "Yukon Bay" was opened, a world
record of five Asian baby elephants were born in one calendar year
at the zoo, and it received the 2009/10 ‘Best Zoo’ award. More than
1.6 million people visit every year.
The different zoo worlds show animals in scenic settings,
without visible barriers. A 5 km long explorer path leads
through the different exhibits:
Zambezi: Zambezi recreates the African savannah. An
artificial river runs alongside the giraffes, rhinoceros, flamingos
and other animals living in this part of the zoo. Starting at the
trading post with on-foot views of the aforementioned animals,
visitors travel in small boats for about ten minutes down the river
before continuing on foot to the lion, hippo, flamingo, and
pelican, meerkat and Sahara desert hoofstock exhibit. At the
"Sahara Conservation Visitor Center", there is information on the
zoo’s addax reintroduction project.
Gorilla Mountain: On the highest point of the zoo, at
the end of the evolution trail featuring dioramas of early humans
and an abandoned research camp, gorillas inhabit a forest landscape
including a stream and a waterfall. At the foot of the mountain
exhibit the gibbons, smallest of the apes, live on an island. The
exhibit also includes chimpanzees, other apes, and a sloth.
Yukon Bay: An old mine shaft leads to the Canadian theme
world Yukon Bay, where wolves, caribous, prairie dogs, and bisons
are visible. In the harbour, Henry’s Underwater World in the hull
of the sunken "Yukon Queen" allows views of diving polar bears,
seals, and penguins. Yukon Bay was built in collaboration with the
Yukon Territory (Canada).
Jungle Palace: An Indian rainforest exhibit themed as an
abandoned Hindu temple with Asian elephants, tigers, leopards,
hanuman langurs, and snakes.
Outback: There is an exhibit themed as an Outback farm
featuring kangaroos, wombats, emus, wallabies, and a flock of
Australian birds in an aviary themed as a pub.
Mullewapp (Mollywoop): Mullewapp is an exhibit aimed at
children with a petting meadow, secret biology room, and toboggans.
It is the location of meet and greets with the "Three Friends" by
author Helme Heine.
Meyer's Farm: Seven old Lower Saxony half-timbered
buildings dating back to the 19th century and earlier, re-erected
in the zoo, create the setting for Meyer's Farm and are used to
house rare old domestic breeds like red and white Husum protest
pigs, Pomeranian rough-wool sheep, and Exmoor ponies.
Winter-Zoo (seasonal): During the Christmas season, the
theme worlds Meyer's Farm, Mollywoop, and Yukon Bay are decorated.
Activities available in this season include ice-skating, ice
curling, roundabouts, and tobogganing.
Hanover Zoo is also involve in conservation efforts through
Projects in collaboration with the Sahara Conservation
Fund: the Hanover Zoo is involved in a European breeding
project for the North African Ostrish and the Addax, also
participating in the reinsertion of both species of animal in their
natural habitat in North Africa. The project is done in partnership
with the Sahara Conservation Fund and many other zoological parks
and centers in the world.
Polar Bear International: the Hanover Zoo is funding the
tracking of a polar bear near the Hudson Bay in Canada since 2008
to better study the comportment and migration route of the animals
and better help in their conservation through the Polar Bear
Rettet den Drill eV or Save the Drills: Hanover Zoo is
working with Rettet den Drill to save drills populations of Nigeria
and Cameroun. The American organisation Pandrillus also provides
support in their endeavor to both protect the species and breed
animals populations in zoos.
Protection of the Asian Elephant with the Biodiversity and
Elephant Conservation Trust: the Hanover Zoo is working with
BECT, an NGO from Sri Lanka, in order to protect the Asian Elephant
and educate the populations about the situation of the animal. The
zoo also has a successful breeding program for the Asian
Conservation of old and endangered breeds: the Hanover
Zoo also participate in the conservation of European endangered
breeds of domestic and farm animals in partnership with the
Gesellschaft zur Erhaltung alter und gefährdeter Haustierrassen
e.V. or GEH. In their efforts of participation, the zoo raises many
of these breeds in their petting zoo, helping to conserve the
genetic diversity of European livestock. Amongst other, the zoo has
Harzer Rotvieh cattles, Thuringian goats, German Black Pied
cattles, Pomeranian Coarsewool sheep, German faverolle chicken, and