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Philadelphia Zoo
Philadelphia Zoo Welcome Gate 2832px.jpg
The gate overhead the zoo's entrance
Date opened March 21, 1859 (chartered); July 1, 1874 (opened)
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Land area 42 acres (0.17 km²)
Coordinates 39°58′28.22″N 75°11′44.44″W / 39.9745056°N 75.1956778°W / 39.9745056; -75.1956778
Number of animals 1,500
Memberships AZA
Website http://www.philadelphiazoo.org

The Philadelphia Zoo, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, was the first zoo in the United States. Chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 21, 1859, its opening was delayed by the American Civil War until July 1, 1874. It opened with 1,000 animals and an admission price of 25 cents.[1]

The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the premier zoos in the world for breeding animals that have been found difficult to breed in captivity.[2] The zoo also works with many groups around the world to protect the natural habitats of the animals in their care.

The zoo is 42 acres (170,000 m2) and is home to more than 1,300 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. The zoo features a children’s zoo, a balloon ride, a paddleboat lake, and many interactive and educational exhibits.

Contents

Recent events

In the early morning of December 24, 1995, a fire in the World of Primates building killed 23 animals, including a family group of six lowland gorillas, a family group of three orangutans, four white-handed gibbons, and ten lemurs (two ruffed, six ringtail, and two mongoose).[3][4] All were members of endangered species. The animals died in their sleep from smoke inhalation (carbon-monoxide poisoning); none were burned. Ten primates housed in an adjoining building, the Discovery House, survived. At the time of the fire, detection equipment existed in only 20% of the zoo buildings; the primates building, which had been constructed in 1985, was not one of them. In the ten months following the fire, the zoo installed fire detection equipment in all animal buildings.[5]

On July 1, 1999, the zoo opened a new primate exhibit, the PECO Primate Reserve. It features 2.5 acres (10,000 m2) of indoor and outdoor exhibits with ten species of primates, including Sumatran Orangutans, lowland gorillas, lemurs, langurs, and gibbons.[6]

The elephants at the Philadelphia Zoo, who were expected to be phased out indefinitely by the Summer of 2009. In July of 2009, the final two elephants, both African, departed from the Philadelphia Zoo.

In 2006 the zoo opened a new, $20-million big cat exhibit, Big Cat Falls, sponsored by Bank of America. This exhibit showcases the animals in scenes reminiscent of their natural habitats, and allows visitors to get very close to the cats, sometimes separated only by a panel of glass. Visitors can see 12 endangered big cats from around the world, including three new snow leopard cubs, three new cougar kittens, and a new black jaguar cub.

On May 25, 2007, three Amur Tiger cubs were born at the Philadelphia Zoo to mother, Kira, and father, Dmitri (also spelled "Dimitri").[7] The three female cubs, named Changbai, Koosaka, and Terney, were introduced to the public August 16, 2007.[8]

On June 9, 2008, Petal, the oldest African elephant in a United States zoo, died at the age of 52.[9]

On March 21, 2009, the zoo kicked off its 150th Anniversary Year-Long Celebrations.

On May 30, 2009, the zoo opened the McNeil Avian Center, a renovation of its classic bird house. It features two species that are extinct in the wild: the Guam Rail and the Micronesian Kingfisher. A theatre presents a nine-minute, 4D-movie about migration, following the migration of an animated oriole named Otis.

On October 2, 2009, the Zoo welcomed a baby Sumatran Orangutan, subsequently named "Batu". Batu, a female, is the first-born child to 13-year-old father Sugi, and 16-year-old mother Tua. She is also the first baby orangutan to be born in the PECO Primate Reserve, which opened in 1999. The Zoo, however, does have a history of successfully breeding orangutans, being the first Zoo in the nation to have a successful birth in 1928.

Features of the zoo

The Channel 6 Zooballoon above the Philadelphia Zoo with the pre-2008 balloon.
  • The Dodge Rare Animal Conservation Center: Interactive graphics and up-close views of some of the world's most endangered animals: giant Rodrigues fruit bats, naked mole rats, blue-eyed lemurs, tree-kangaroos, and more.
  • The Reptile and Amphibian House: Features over 125 species of amphibians and reptiles, including giant tortoises and the venomous King Cobra.
  • Bank of America: Big Cat Falls: Features numerous species of wild cats including African Lions, Black Jaguars, Amur Tigers, and Pumas. It was in this area of the zoo that Rocky Balboa proposed to Adrian in Rocky II.
  • Carnivore Kingdom: Features a family of six rare, playful Giant Otters, Snow Leopards, Red Pandas, and Clouded Leopards in unique naturalistic environments.
  • African Plains: Features warthogs, Sable Antelope, Mhorr Gazelle, reticulated giraffes, hippos, and zebras.
  • Exotic South American animals: Features such animals as Giant Anteaters and capybaras.
  • Educational programs are offered for children age three and older. Summer camps are offered for grade school aged children.
  • The Animal Health Center: The Philadelphia Zoo hosts one of the nation’s busiest and most comprehensive animal hospital and health-care facilities.
  • The Channel 6 Zooballooon: a tethered helium balloon, rises 400 feet (120 m) in the air to offer a view of the Zoo, the Schuylkill River, and the Philadelphia Center City skyline. The balloon is sponsored, in part, by WPVI-TV.
  • The only breeding giant otters in North America. The zoo was also the first to exhibit them in 1996 and the first and only to breed them in 2004

Gallery

See also

Notes

References

External links

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