Kiev zoo — is one of the largest zoos on the territory of former USSR countries and one of the oldest zoos in Ukraine. It covers the territory about 40 hectares. The animal collection of the zoo numbers about 3500 animals from all over the world. Nowadays it is not only a showcase of animals, but also a research center, working on acclimatization of far land animals, preserving and reproduction of rare animals, such as the Amur tigers, bisons, Przewalski's Horses and some others.
The Kiev Zoo was founded by the Nature Lovers Society in 1908. It started as an exhibition of animal fauna of South Russian Territory. Some time later the exhibition became permanent and turned into zoological garden. At that time it was situated on the territory of botanical garden of St. Vladimir University (now Taras Shevchenko University). New animals were presented to the zoo or brought from expeditions by the scientists of the University, thus the collection of the zoo enriched. During the winter period some animals from tropical countries were accommodated at Kiev railway station.
As the time went by the number of animals had increased, limiting the space available. Another problem was that cries let out by the animals frightened the people who lived not far off. That’s why in 1911 town council of Kiev gave to the zoo a relatively large, permanent area in the outskirts of Kiev. The relief of the territory was rough and not suitable for house-building or industrial engineering, but perfectly well suited the zoo — the complexity of the relief was well and efficiently used.
During all this time city council of Kiev didn’t finance the zoo, it was subsisted on private donations. But the admission was free. After the revolution of 1917 the zoo was nationalized and turned to the state property.
Before World War II zoo collection numbered about 1500 animals, but during the 1940s, when Kiev was occupied by the Nazi forces, the territory of the zoo was used by the German garrison. The zoo was destroyed, and the most precious specimen of animals were moved to Germany by train.
After the liberation of Kiev the zoo was reconstructed. New open-air cages appeared gradually. In 1982 was constructed the «Island of Animals», in 1998—2003"Aviary« — peculiar sphere for rare birds — black griffins, and the «Continent of bears».
In 1983 Kiev zoo got the national status and was included in the list of objects of natural reserved fund. In 1996, the zoo was admitted to the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Nowadays the collection of zoo numbers about 3500 animals, representatives of 400 species.
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