One of the world’s oldest zoos has closed after 186 years.
Bristol Zoo Gardens, run by the Bristol Zoological Charity, opened in 1836 and is the fifth oldest zoo in the world.
Due to the pandemic, and a new focus on The Wild Project Safari Park, also owned by the charity, the zoo will be shut permanently from today.
The zoo said it had welcomed about 90m visitors since it first opened and its conservation programmes have helped save many species from extinction.
When it first opened, the zoo featured animals that had been sourced by affluent families and which were brought to the UK on ships by sailors.
While the site used to include wildlife such as elephants, tigers and polar bears these were eventually deemed unsuitable to be housed there as many were not endangered and had, therefore, been needlessly removed from their habitats.
Bristol Zoo has also helped young people gain experience and knowledge on animal welfare. The charity has links to both Bristol University and the University of the West of England.
The organisation offered six degree courses and had 380 students studying alongside the zoo.
The zoo said even though it is closing, the students would continue to receive their education with the team.
The zoo’s sister site, The Wild Place Project, was acquired in 1967 but did not open until 2013.
The conservation park in South Gloucestershire provides education for families on helping achieve a climate-conscious future.
It also features much larger grounds, with space for animals to roam more freely.
By closing the Clifton site, the team hope to prioritise and expand The Wild Place and continue the work with endangered species.
Bristol Zoo was the first in the UK to successfully breed the increasingly rare Black Rhino.
Two Black Rhinos will be living at the new site in 2024.
The zoo’s outreach and international support work will continue after the site closes.
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