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Adelaide Zoo celebrates 130 years, welcomes lion cubs

Adelaide Zoo celebrates 130 years, welcomes lion cubs
July 12, 2013

The Adelaide Zoo has celebrated its 130th anniversary, marking its beginnings in 1883, when it was opened by the Australian Zoological and Acclimation Society.

Althought financially troubled in recent years, Zoos SA Chief Executive Elaine Bensted recently explained to the ABC that the Zoo is proud to have been offering unique experiences to the public over its 130 years.

Bensted explained that, when it opened, the Zoo "gave the people in Adelaide, for the very first time, (the chance) to see things like black panthers which simply would have been a mind-blowing experience.

"It had very large attendances, given the small populations of Adelaide at the time."

Zoo Asset and Horticultural Manager Jeff Lugg said the 130 years had not passed without some very unusual happenings, highlighting two unfortunate occurrences: the first, in 1902, when a keeper had an arm torn off by a brown bear (the bear was shot and is now on display as an exhibit at the Adelaide Museum) and the second, in 1920, when a keeper was killed in a polar bear attack.

From an animal's perspective, Lugg said the Zoo faced one of its toughest times in the early 1900s.

He explained "we had a really severe drought in 1915, and we weren't allowed to irrigate or fill the ponds, and as a result five of the flamingos died."

The current Greater flamingo has lived at the zoo for the past 84 years, with Lugg adding "I think it's probably the most visited exhibit in the zoo."

However, Bensted explains that when the resident Greater flamingo dies the zoo will not be able to replace it, stating "there's very, very strict quarantine restrictions about bringing any animals, particularly birds, into Australia."

In recent times the zoo has acquired Australia's only breeding pair of Giant Pandas, with Wang Wang and Funi moving into their custom built enclosure in 2010.

The pair will call the Adelaide Zoo home until 2020, with hopes the pair will produce offspring.

Following the launch of the Panda Exhibit, architects turned their eyes to redesigning the main entrance for the zoo, moving from the original Frome Street gates to inside the Adelaide Botanic Gardens on Plane Tree Drive.

The new entrance was opened in February 2010.

Zoos SA has also recently celebrated the arrival of three lion cubs at its Monarto Zoo. Born on 24th April, the clubs made their first public appearance on 8th July.

Click here to visit the Adelaide Zoo Facebook page.

14th February 2013 - ZOOS SA TO CLOSE WARRAWONG SANCTUARY

18th July 2012 - JOB CUTS PLANNED FOR ADELAIDE ZOO?

17th October 2011 - ZOOS SA HALTS PLANS FOR AFRICAN SAFARI EXPERIENCE


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