Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo
This article is about the zoo; for the TV series see The Bronx Zoo (TV series); for the book "The Bronx Zoo" about the Yankees, see Sparky Lyle, its author.
Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo logo

Asia Gate Entrance
Date opened November 8, 1899 [1]
Location 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx Park, Bronx, New York, 10460, USA
Land area 265 acres (107 ha)
Coordinates 40°51′02″N 73°52′31″W / 40.850581°N 73.87538°W / 40.850581; -73.87538Coordinates: 40°51′02″N 73°52′31″W / 40.850581°N 73.87538°W / 40.850581; -73.87538
Number of animals 4,000 [2]
Number of species 650 [2]
Memberships AZA [3]
Major exhibits Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, Wild Asia Monorail, Madagascar!, Tiger Mountain, African Plains, World of Birds, World of Monkeys, World of Reptiles, Zoo Center

The Bronx Zoo is located in the Bronx borough of New York City, within Bronx Park. It is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, comprising 265 acres (107 ha) of park lands and naturalistic habitats, through which the Bronx River flows.

The Bronx Zoo is part of an integrated system of four zoos and one aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).



Fordham University owned most of the land which became the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden. Fordham sold it to the City of New York for only $1,000 under the condition that the lands be used for a zoo and garden; this was in order to create a natural buffer between the university grounds and the urban expansion that was nearing. In the 1880s, New York State set aside the land for future development as parks. In 1895, New York State chartered the New York Zoological Society (later renamed to Wildlife Conservation Society)[1] for the purpose of founding a zoo.

Zoo Director William T. Hornaday feeding a greater kudu in 1920

The zoo (originally called the Bronx Zoological Park[4] and the Bronx Zoological Gardens[5]) opened its doors to the public on November 8, 1899, featuring 843 animals in 22 exhibits. The first zoo director was William Temple Hornaday.[6] Heins & LaFarge designed the original permanent buildings as a series of Beaux-Arts pavilions grouped around the large circular sea lion pool.[7] In 1934, the Rainey Memorial Gates, designed by noted sculptor Paul Manship, were dedicated as a memorial to noted big game hunter Paul James Rainey.[8] The gates were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[9]

In November 2006, the Zoo opened up brand-new eco-friendly restrooms outside the Bronx River Gate. According to the Clivus multrum company, which built the composting toilets chosen by the Zoo, these facilities will service 500,000 people and save 1,000,000 U.S. gallons (3,800,000 l) of water a year.[10][11]

In March 2007, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Fordham University Graduate School of Education announced they would offer a joint program leading to a Master of Science degree in education and New York State initial teacher certification in adolescent science education (biology grades 7-12). The program began in 2008, and is the first joint degree program of its kind.[12]

Exhibits and attractions

As of 2010, the Bronx Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals of 650 species, many of which are endangered or threatened.[2] Some of the exhibits at the Bronx Zoo, such as World of Birds and World of Reptiles, are arranged by taxonomy, while others, such as African Plains and Wild Asia, are arranged geographically.[13]

Outdoor exhibits

Nyalas, Marabou storks

The "African Plains" exhibit allows visitors to walk past lions, storks and zebras, and see herds of gazelles sharing their home with nyalas and African wild dogs. Giraffes roam nearby. The wild dogs can be viewed close-up from a glass-fronted viewing pavilion.[14] Three lion cubs were born in January 2010 and reside in the "African Plains" exhibit. The Bronx Zoo in partnership with the NY Daily News held a contest to name the newborns which made their public debut in April 2010. The names that won for the 2 females and 1 male were Nala, Adamma, and Shani.[15]

Congo gorillas

"Baboon Reserve" recreates the Ethiopian highlands, and is home to a troop of geladas. Visitors can watch the geladas from multiple viewpoints along with the Nubian ibexes, rock hyraxes, and African waterfowl that also live in this area.[16]

Giraffes (Monorail)

"Congo Gorilla Forest" is a 6.5-acre (2.6 ha) rainforest that is home to the 20 or so western lowland gorillas in the zoo. Colobus monkeys, guenon, marmosets and mandrills also call this area home. Visitors walk through the area and can also view it from treetop lookouts.[17] Illustrations for this exhibit are by Jack Unruh.[citation needed]

"Wild Asia Monorail" takes visitors through a 40-acre (16 ha) area that recreates the mud wallows and pastures, forests and riverbanks of Asia. Visitors will see tigers, elephants, and rhinos, and wild horses in their natural habitats. As the monorail travels along the Bronx River, visitors can see native animals including egrets, turtles, and ducks. The monorail is accessible for wheelchairs up to 26" wide. Smaller chairs are available at the monorail platform for visitors with wider wheelchairs or motorized scooters.[18]

Indoor exhibits

Silvery Lutungs (Trachypithecus cristatus), at Jungle World

"Jungle World" is an indoor tropical jungle and home to nearly 800 animals including otters, gibbons, and a tapir, live in mangroves and on the beaches. Visitors can watch the gibbons swinging or singing, and watch the otters play. The exhibit includes species that are usually on the jungle floor including stag beetles, scorpions, and fire-bellied toads, but behind glass. A pond with a waterfall lets visitors sit and observe gourami and Fly River turtles.[19]

Monkeys grooming each other

"Butterfly Garden" is an indoor butterfly conservatory which lets visitors walk through gardens and meadows and watch the butterflies up close.[20]

"Monkey House" is home to cotton-topped tamarins, white-faced sakis, marmosets, and other New World monkeys.[21]

The "Madagascar" exhibit, which opened on 20 June 2008, recreates a small section of what many people call the eighth continent. It contains a variety of wildlife from Madagascar, including lemurs, hissing cockroaches, sifaka lemurs, and the Nile crocodile.[22]

"World of Birds" is an indoor walk-through aviary. As of the summer of 2010, it is closed for repairs and upgrades.[23]

World of Birds reopened in early 2011. The exhibit is open year round. See blue-bellied rollers, helmeted curassows, and the Cuban Amazon parrot. In the World of Birds you’ll find striking headdresses, elegant plumes, and plenty of preening.


The Bronx Zoo made the news in August 2006 when it agreed to enter a rare snow leopard cub, Leo, into its breeding program. The 13-month-old cub was found stuck in mud following a landslide in Naltar Valley in Pakistan. The landslide had killed the cub's mother. A Pakistani shepherd in the area found the cub with its female sibling, but the female had died a week later due to malnutrition. He then handed over the male cub to Pakistani authorities to care for him. Since there are no captive breeding programs or rehabilitation centers for snow leopards in Pakistan, the authorities decided to send the cub to the Bronx Zoo. The leopard will be returned to its place of birth following construction of a rehab facility in the Naltar Valley with cooperation from the United States.[24][25][26]

In January 2010, the zoo was selected to house four abandoned baby bear cubs. The Wildlife Conservation Society suspects that their mother was killed in a mudslide. The four cubs are healthy and happy in their new home.[citation needed]


1985 zookeeper death

On July 29, 1985, two Siberian tigresses killed 24-year-old animal keeper Robin Silverman after she entered their enclosure with a volunteer aide.[27] It was unclear why Silverman entered the enclosure; the zoo's general curator suspected a lapse in concentration while Silverman's family suspected a lapse on the part of the zoo. It was the first fatality in the zoo's history.[28]

2011 Egyptian cobra escape

On March 26, 2011, the Bronx Zoo announced that the reptile house was closed after a venomous adolescent Egyptian cobra was discovered missing from its off-exhibit enclosure on March 25. Zoo officials were confident the missing cobra would be found in the building and not outside, since the Egyptian cobra is known to be uncomfortable in open areas.[29] The missing snake quickly sparked a popular Twitter parody account, @BronxZoosCobra,[30] which narrated the daily hijinks of the Egyptian cobra.[31]

On March 31, zoo authorities found the snake in a non-public, non-exhibit area of the reptile house.[32]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Wildlife Conservation Society". Funding Universe. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bronx Zoo". New York City. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "New Antelope house". (New York Times). November 27, 1903. Retrieved 28 February 2011.  "The antelope house at the Bronx Zoological Park was opened to the public yesterday."
  5. ^ "Taft Enjoys Trip To The Bronx Zoo". (New York Times). May 24, 1911. Retrieved 28 February 2011.  "President Taft paid a two-hour visit to the Bronx Zoological Gardens yesterday afternoon, as the guest of the New York Zoological Society."
  6. ^ "Dr. W. T. Hornaday Dies In Stamford". (New York Times). March 7, 1937. Retrieved 31 May 2010.  "Dr. William T. Hornaday, who retired as the first director of the New York Zoological Park in 1926 after thirty years' service and who since had devoted himself to the protection of wild life, largely through his writings and efforts as head of the Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund, died tonight at his home, the Anchorage, in West North Street, this city."
  7. ^ Bridges, William. Gathering of Animals: An unconventional history of the New York Zoological Society. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.
  8. ^ Stephen S. Lash (May 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Rainey Memorial Gates". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  9. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  10. ^ "Bronx Zoo". Clivus Multrum. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Composting Toilets, The Bronx Zoo, and Design that's Disgusting". The Poop Culture Blog. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "New GSE Master's Program Approved and Ready To Roar". Fordham University. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "Exhibits & Attractions". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "African Plains". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  15. ^ David Rooney: "Bronx Zoo's New Lion Cubs Are Impossibly Cute'. New York Times, 2010.
  16. ^ "Baboon Reserve". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "Congo Gorilla Forest". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "Wild Asia Monorail". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  19. ^ "JungleWorld". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Butterfly Garden". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "Monkey House". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  22. ^ "Madagascar". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "World of Birds". WCS. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  24. ^ "Endangered Leo bound for Bronx". Dawn. Retrieved 31 May 2010. [dead link]
  25. ^ "Pakistan snow leopard cub heads to Bronx". Associated Press. 8 August 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  26. ^ "Bronx Zoo Provides New Home for Pakistani Snow Leopard". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  27. ^ Oren Yaniv (27 December 2007). "Flashback to death by Bronx Zoo tiger". New York Daily News. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  28. ^ "Death at the Bronx Zoo". TIME. 18 April 2005.,9171,1050426,00.html. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  29. ^ Kevin Dolak (27 March 2011). "Bronx Zoo Reptile House Closed After Poisonous Snake Goes Missing". ABC News. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  30. ^ "Bronx Zoo's Cobra". Twitter. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  31. ^ Jonathan Allen (30 March 2011). "Missing Bronx zoo cobra sparks Twitter following". Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  32. ^ "Missing Bronx Zoo Egyptian Cobra Finally Captured". WCBS-TV. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 

External links

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