Zoo Praha  |  08. 08. 2016

The history of Prague Zoo goes all the way back to the year 1881, when, on the occasion of the wedding of Crown Prince Rudolf and Princess Stephanie of Belgium, Count Sweerts-Sporck published an open letter in the newspapers calling for the establishment of a zoological garden in Prague.


  • The Committee for the Establishment of a Zoological Garden in the Royal Game Preserve (one of Prague’s parks, known in Czech as Královská obora) is constituted. This project, however, does not materialize.


  • The Association for the Establishment of a Zoological and Acclimatization Garden publishes its memorandum. Out of ten proposed places for the garden, the choice falls on the Kinsky Garden in the borough of Smíchov – but that’s the beginning as well as the end of the matter.


  • Enter high-school professor Jiří Janda, who sets about making preparations for building a zoo on the river island of Štvanice.


  • The Advisory Council for Mathematics and the Natural Sciences at the Ministry of Education and National Edification meets and appoints a committee to take charge of the preparatory work for the foundation of Prague’s zoological garden.


  • Farming tycoon Alois Svoboda donates land in the Prague borough of Troja on the condition that a zoological garden will be among the things to be built on it.


  • Professor Jiří Janda is charged by the aforementioned ministry with starting the preparatory work for the establishment of the zoological garden on the Svoboda’s land in Troja.


  • This year sees the formation of the Zoological Garden Management, Purchasing and Building Cooperative.


  • By the end of the year, 8 hectares of the future zoological garden have been fenced off.


  • The owner of Circus Rebernigg donates a lioness named Šárka to the zoological garden. Since the nascent zoo lacks suitable accommodation for the feline, she lives, like some of the other zoo denizens, in Professor Janda’s villa in Troja.


  • On September 28, the zoological garden, albeit still under construction, opens to the public, and, with the sun out and shining bright, the first visitors walk through the gates of Prague Zoo.
  • An administration building is erected by the main entrance.
  • Janda’s Raptor Aviary is built.
  • Arrival of Lotta the she-wolf, the first animal to live on Prague Zoo premises.
  • Arrival of the first Przewalski's horses (named Minka and Ali).


  • Arrival of the first tigers (named Mitau and Bengali).


  • Arrival of Baby the Elephant, Petr the Hippopotamus and Max the Rhinoceros.
  • First litter of tiger cubs.


  • First lions on Prague Zoo premises (Šárka and Ctirad, named after characters from Czech mythology)
  • Famous Czech comedic actor Vlasta Burian gives the zoo two sea lions, named Hýta and Batul.


  • The Feline House is built at the foot of a rock face in the lower zoo.


  • Zoo employees start staging circus performances.
  • The Zoo succeeds in breeding the first captive-born Andean Condor in the world.


  • Prague Zoo builds the “Farm” – a cluster of agricultural buildings.


  • Prague Zoo becomes the first to hand-rear a polar bear cub (a female named Ilun).


  • Arrival of Zuzana the Hippopotamus from bomb-ravaged Berlin.


  • The Monkey House is completed.
  • Arrival of the first chimpanzee, a female named Moke.
  • Prague Zoo becomes a governmental organization under the jurisdiction of the Central National Committee of the Capital City of Prague and under the supervision of the Ministry of Information and Edification.


  • Arrival of the first giraffe, a female named Lenka.


  • The Small Animal House is built.


  • Dr. Zdeněk Veselovský becomes Director of Prague Zoo. Under his leadership, the zoo wins a place among the world’s leading zoological gardens, garnering many breeding and scientific achievements.


  • Prague Zoo is charged with keeping the international studbook for the Przewalski’s horse.


  • Arrival of the first orangutan, a female named Soňa.


  • Arrival of the first gorilla, a male named Titan.


  • Janda’s Raptor Aviary collapses under the weight of snow.


  • Prague hosts a conference of the WAZA (a.k.a. the International Union of Directors of Zoological Gardens (IUDZG)), attended by Professor Bernhard Grzimek.
  • Inauguration of a new Pavilion of Big Mammals (for elephants, hippopotami and rhinoceroses).
  • Birth of Kama – the first orangutan reared in Prague Zoo.


  • First litter of cheetah cubs (the second such captive-breeding success in the world).


  • Arrival of the first aardvarks in Prague Zoo’s history (named Bojsa and Nebojsa).


  • Inauguration of the Feline Pavilion.


  • A new exhibit, named America, is opened, and polar bear and American black bear exhibits are renovated.
  • Prague hosts a European Zoo Educators (EZE) Conference.


  • Inauguration of the Pavilion of Big Tortoises.


  • Demolition of the Monkey House.


•    Prague Zoo becomes the first in the world to hand-rear a Przewalski’s horse.
•    Inauguration of two new pavilions: the African House and the Pavilion of Gorillas.
•    Prague Zoo hosts a meeting of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria: EAZA.


  • August flooding affects almost half of the zoo’s area.


  • The Gorilla House reopens after the flood; arrival of a male western lowland gorilla named Richard.
  • The Pavilion of Big Tortoises reopens after the flood.
  • Birth of a brown fur seal, Gaston’s posthumous child.


  • Inauguration ceremony for the pavilions named “Africa From Near” and “Sichuan”.
  • The Feline Pavilion reopens after the flood.
  • Inauguration of a new flamingo exhibit, the Pavilion of Penguins, a cheetah exhibit and the Education Centre.
  • Arrival of the first pair of Komodo dragons in the Czech Republic.
  • Inauguration of a new pavilion, called the Indonesian Jungle.
  • Birth of Moja [Moya], the first western lowland gorilla born in the Czech Republic.


  • New exhibits inaugurated: the Children’s Zoo; Nature Around Us; an open-air aviary-like enclosure for orangutans and gibbons; tiger and leopard exhibits; exhibits for porcupines and lemurs; the Squirrel Monkey island; Water World and Monkey Islands.
  • The open-air penguin exhibit reopens after renovation.
  • Birth of Asian small-clawed otters and honey badgers.


  • Professor Zdeněk Veselovský, former director of Prague Zoo, passes away.


  • Komodo dragons hatch for the first time in the Czech Republic.
  • Birth of Tatu, the second western lowland gorilla to be born in the Czech Republic.


  • First successful breeding of the Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat in the Czech Republic.
  • Arrival of gharials the first in Europe.
  • Inauguration of the Chambal – Pavilion of Gharials.


  • Inauguration of the Parrots’ Trail, which ends in a walk-through aviary for rainbow lorikeets and other Australian birds.
  • Černohouska Pizzeria opens after a complete reconstruction of the old 17th century building.
  • “Obora” Observation Tower erected.
  • Inauguration of a new exhibit for South African fur seals, which includes a large pool and a spacious viewing platform for visitors.
  • A buffy fish owl chick hatches for the first time in Prague Zoo. Prague Zoo is the only successful breeder of these owls in Europe.
  • Prague Zoo successfully breeds seven Komodo dragons.


  • Mgr. Miroslav Bobek becomes Director of Prague Zoo.
  • Inauguration of a large aquatic bird exhibit, “Bird Wetlands”, which includes shoebills and wattled cranes.
  • Inauguration of an exhibit for warmth-loving owls.
  • Foundation stone laid for a cluster of exhibits that will house Asian elephants, hippopotami and antelopes – the biggest investment venture in the history of Czech and Slovak zoos.
  • Prague Zoo successfully breeds 20 Komodo dragons.
  • Prague Zoo becomes the first to successfully breed the Texas tortoise, the slender mongoose and the spotted imperial pigeon.
  • Arrival of two Aldabra giant tortoises.
  • Arrival of brown dorcopsises, southern tree hyraxes and Malayan tapirs – all these animals being only rarely seen in zoos.


  • Birth of Prague Zoo’s 70th Rothschild's giraffe.
  • Celebration of Prague Zoo’s 80th anniversary.
  • The first all-Czech Przewalski’s horse transport – we reintroduced 4 horses into the wild in Mongolia.
  • Visitor-number record broken – 1,369,000 people visit Prague Zoo.
  • Prague Zoo hosts the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (WAZA) 66th annual conference.
  • The Gočár’s Houses, two architecturally unique buildings from 1920s, reopen after renovation – one serves as a restaurant, the other as a gallery, educational facility and shop.


  • Prague Zoo introduces a new logo and visual style.
  • The new elephant exhibit is being completed. The old elephant herd – Mekong, Shanti and Gulab move into their new quarters. Prague Zoo acquires four new female elephants: Donna and Tonya come from Rotterdam, Tamara and Janita from Sri Lanka.
  • The hippo family move into the new Hippo House in the upper zoo.
  • Record number of animal births – 1,557 in 211 species. Importantly, this includes the world’s first successful breeding of the crowned river turtle and the rufous-cheeked laughingthrush – as well as Prague Zoo’s first successful breeding of the red panda.
  • Our Komodo dragons breed again. We exchange ten of their young with zoos in the United States to secure unrelated bloodlines for the European breeding stock.
  • Stanislav Rákos gives the zoo funds to build an exotic bird exhibit and bequeaths to it a large amount of real estate.
  • The Feline Pavilion and Terrarium reopens after renovation.
  • The second “Return of the Wild Horses” takes place (four Przewalski’s horses are reintroduced into the wild in Mongolia).