Zoo in the zoo

Director´s view

Miroslav Bobek  |  01. 06. 2015

We are hosting 654 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish today. But there are also many animals which live in the Zoo free - and I am really curious how long their list could be! No doubt it is very long. And what if we include even the insects and other invertebrates!

Marsh frog. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo Marsh frog. Photo: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo

Free living animals in Prague Zoo are not only Mallards and Magpies, but many other animals. Everybody can see the colony of Grey Herons below Zakázanka, but who takes a really careful look at the other side of the path and finds Green Lizard among the stones? Lot of visitors know about the Night Herons nesting nearby the restaurant Gaston, but only a few have had the chance to listen to the song of Nightingale near the African House, and even I have learned only recently that an Eagle Owl comes to hunt in the Zoo. Simply there are many animals living at the Zoo grounds secretly and they let us know about themselves only a few days a year - like when the Water World gets stormy during the courtship of Lake Frogs - or not at all. However, their diversity is enormous and we could hardly find any other comparable area in Czech Republic as rich as the Zoo.

In spite of that we strive to offer life opportunities to other species as well. Revitalization of the Mill Race, finished several years ago, created a habitat for a wide range of species; for example, there are 23 species of dragonflies living in the Zoo! Also the colony of European Ground Squirrels behind the Giraffe Enclosure was created thanks to our employees. Now we continue to support them among other things - by hanging a large number of nesting boxes, the ordinary ones for titmice and other songbirds and the special ones for swifts (which we try to attract by playing their recorded voice). And we are preparing boxes for bats and insect hotels as well. Not to speak about activities related to the research and protection of Dice Snakes (about 1,000 of them hibernate below Zakázanka and every year migrate to the Vltava River), or the research of lizards and some bird species.

Because of all of that I was even more happy that the next campaign of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) will be focused on the support of the life and diversity in our closest neighbourhood, simply said, whether in the zoo grounds or in someone´s garden. The campaign, called Let it grow, starts on January 1st, 2016, but you can get inspired in Prague Zoo even now!

Zoo in the zoo

Miroslav Bobek, Director, Prague Zoo