Dublin Zoo was opened to the public on the 1st September 1831 with 46 mammals and 72 birds on display, all donated by London Zoo. The entry charge was sixpence that later was reduced to one penny on Sundays. It was basically a shed with the animal cages housed in a random order. The animals were routinely taunted and abused by the visitors. During the Famine of the 1840 many animals died and the institution almost collapsed. Another tough time was in the end of the 1980’s. The zoo was struggling and the council considered closing it, but with the aid of the Government it eventually started to recover. At present, Dublin Zoo is a home to some 400 animals.
I am going to the Dublin Zoo once in a decade. I have mixed feelings about the Zoos, especially about breeding in captivity. This time there were three baby elephants born within a year.
This little baby bull elephant Kabir was born to mama Yasmin in May. He is Yasmin’s fourth calf.
The other two baby elephants are Zinda born in September 2016 and Avani born in March this year, both girls.
Zinda’s mum Asha was the first Asian elephant born in Dublin Zoo back in 2007, the year of my previous visit (picture below). She was hiding behind her mother and I had a hard time taking a good picture of her.
Asha’s mum and Zinda’s grandmother Bernhardine is still alive. She is the matriarch of the herd.
Dublin Zoo’s first elephant was a female called Sita, and her keeper was James McNally. In 1903 Sita cut her foot and as James was applying ointment to her wound, she knocked him down with her trunk and stamped on his head. The coroner decided she had acted out of malice and sentenced her to death. Nearly 30 years of good behavior prior the accident didn’t help, and after two days an experienced elephant hunter and a firing squad did the killing. Even McNally’s son said that his father would not have wanted the animal killed.
Sita’s stamping foot was preserved as an umbrella bucket in the Zoo cafeteria for decades.
I didn’t have a good view of the other babies – you see Zinda in the middle and Avani on the left. They look happy, but their future is unclear.
Another set of cute babies – Tamworth piglets.
Not a baby anymore but still good looking 😉
African Red river hog, shy nocturnal animal with long tufted ears.
Just a billy goat from the Family Farm.
Bored chicken from the Family Farm.
Southern white rhino, endangered species. They have a big herd here in Dublin Zoo, and a male calf was born last August.
More than 100 animals died at Dublin Zoo during the 24 month period from 2014 to 2016, among them Southern white rhinoceros, two Rothschild giraffes, three grey wolves and a red panda.
Rothschild giraffes in 2007. They are no more.
Red panda in 2007. Gone.
Humboldt penguins are very quiet. Ten years ago there were more of them, and I remember the sounds they made – trumpet-like, even elephant-like.
This picture is 10 years old. Three Humboldt penguins died in 2015. There are fewer than 12000 of the penguins left in the wild..
Penguins and zebras look good in monochrome pictures.
I love these neat animals.
Another black & white favorite – European magpies. They are living in the zoo along with many other wild birds including a Grey heron. I saw him in 2007 and he is still alive, still hanging with penguins and probably stealing their fish 🙂
Here are some links you might be interested in:
National Animal Rights Association, Ireland
Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS)
Thank you for visiting Dublin Zoo with me. One more post next Saturday.
Have a wonderful weekend!