The year 2011 is an important anniversary for Prague Zoo. Eighty years have passed since the Zoo was founded on the 28th of September 1931. Due to the naturally high ecological diversity found at its location, the extraordinary conditions were extremely favourable for constructing a zoological garden. Its 60 ha large area encompasses the Vltava river alluvium and a steep side of a deeply cut river valley with excellently preserved riverine phenomenon, as well as mildly undulating terrain behind the edge of Vltava valley. These uniquely advantageous conditions enabled creation of suitable breeding places for animals with diverse ecological needs. In addition, Prague zoo manages a breeding station in Dobøejov in Central Bohemia, which is not open to the public.
Geomorphological and microclimatic diversity of the zoo grounds creates an important refuge for a large number of wild animals and plants including relict populations of critically endangered species like Dice Snake and European Green Lizard. The adjacent course of the Vltava River provides an important wintering area for waterfowl. Prague Zoo strives to care for this heritage and to coordinate its development plans to ensure its preservation.
Over the years a modern zoo was created in Prague, presenting animals under conditions, guaranteeing them the highest degree of comfort and respect for their biology. Currently about 700 animal species with about 5,400 individuals are bred here; some of them, like Gavials and Shoebills, are very rare specimens. Prague Zoo achieves excellent results in rearing many species, some of them being considered really difficult. It belongs among the top world breeders of the Komodo Dragon, and is famous also for its breed of Przewalski´s Horses. Thanks to the internationally popular multimedia project “We Help Gorillas”, the growing breeding group of Lowland Gorillas is enjoying major public attention. A unique collection of Laughingthrushes or Tortoises, including the largest group of Giant Tortoises bred in European zoos, are to be found here. The Indonesian jungle, so far the most expensive project within Czech zoos, presents one of the Zoo´s most important pavilions. Currently an even more expensive building is under a construction – the pavilion for Asiatic Elephants and Hippopotamuses.
Prague zoo is fully aware of the need for partnerships among zoos to fulfil their complex missions. It is a member of WAZA, EAZA, UCSZ, IZEA, and actively participates in the work of a number of international organizations focused on the protection of biodiversity. It also cooperates with many scientific and research institutions and universities. It respects national and European directives for the activities of the zoos and the recommendations and programmes of international institutions of which it is a member. The Zoo participates in the programmes of species protection ex situ and is significantly involved in EEP and ESB, in local reintroduction programmes (European Ground Squirrel, Little Owl, Barn Owl, Ural Owl, Black Stork and White Stork) as well as in international ones (Przewalski´s Horse, Lammergeier, Bald Ibis, European Bison, and Addax). It also supports species protection in situ (Przewalski´s Horse, Addax, Lowland Gorilla, Eastern Lowland Gorilla, Philippine Eagle-owl and Gavials). Prague Zoo has served as an official rescue centre for confiscated animals since 2004.
There are about two hundred people working in Prague Zoo. The number of visitors exceeds one million each year. In 2007, the prestigious magazine Forbes Traveller rated Prague Zoo to be the 7th best zoo in the world. According the statistics from 2010, Prague Zoo is the most visited tourist destination in the Czech Republic.