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Local History Series – Dublin Zoo

Lemurs at Dublin Zoo

On Thursday the 1st of September 1831 at 9 o’clock in the morning, Dublin Zoological Gardens opened its doors to the public for the first time. By the mid 1830’s, the city’s population was about 200,000 and approximately 40,000 people were visiting the Zoo each year. The entrance was quite expensive, costing six pence per person. In 1840 this entrance fee was reduced to one penny on Sundays only, making a visit to the Zoo more affordable for the less well-off. Purchasing animals for the Zoo was an expensive business. In 1835, a 10 year old elephant was on loan to the Zoo from a travelling animal keeper, for the princely sum of £100 per month.

The Second World War proved a very difficult time for Dublin Zoo, as new animal stocks were impossible to obtain and foodstuffs were scarce. This scarcity of foodstuffs remained for some time after the War had ended. Another problem arose during the War. The Zoo officials had to give an undertaking to destroy all dangerous animals, if an emergency arose. Also, there was a lack of fuel which endangered the lives of some of the animals. The Council purchased 47 trees for fuel, but this proved inadequate, subsequently in November 1947 they were able to purchase supplies of coal, which solved the problem. All this expenditure meant that entrance fees had to be increased for the first time since 1872.

In 1986, the Chinese Government sent a pair of Giant Pandas, called Ming Ming and Ping Ping, on loan to Dublin Zoo. These animals spent 100 days at the Zoo and were a major attraction, bringing approximately 350,000 visitors.

In 1993, nearly 670,000 people visited the Zoo. The Dino Live Exhibition, with its life-size moving models of dinosaurs against a jungle background, entertained children and adults alike.

In 1997, the government granted 13 hectares of land to the Zoo. This land was used to create a unique environment for the African animals, aptly named the African Plains. Every effort was made to use native African plants and foliage in this project. The habitat was opened in July 2000 and gave a safari experience to visitors. Dublin Zoo, throughout the years, has given hours of pleasure and education to people of all ages.

IMAGE: Lemurs at Dublin Zoo – image credit: Simon/Flickr

Note from editor: This was originally published as part of our March 2011 ‘Fountain News’ digital newsletter, which we are re-publishing here. We have re-published it under the current date, because we think it remains relevant, plus it has been offline for a considerable amount of time.

Fountain News DigitalThis article was originally published in:
Fountain News Digital – March 2011 (Issue 3)

We are re-publishing all articles from our past newsletter, Fountain News Digital, and you can view all completed newsletters here. There were nine issues published in total between 2010 and 2012.

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