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National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Listed under Visitor Attractions in Pretoria, South Africa.

  • Photo of National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
  • Photo of National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
  • Photo of National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
  • Photo of National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
  • Photo of National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
Photo of National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
Photo by flickr user DanieVDM
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On a continent, where if you want wild animals you go to a safari game reserve, a zoo is always going to have a difficult job attracting visitors. The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is a great day however where the wild is brought to you in the city of Pretoria.

Founded by J.W.B Gunning in 1916 the zoo has been the site of some important firsts in zoological-keeping. The expansion of the zoo by director Dr Rudolph Bigalke, creating the mountain area exhibits to the north of the zoo, marked the beginning of the end of small enclosures. These habitats are now home to some of the most endangered species such as Bengal Tigers, as well as your tried and tested crowd pleasers such as lions. Zoo modernization continued under the directorship of Dr Frank Brand, who believed that animals shouldn’t be housed singly in enclosures but instead a zoo should represent an animal’s natural habitat. He was also responsible for the abolition of using animals as entertainment, making training and playing with wild animals taboo.

The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa has one shining light that keeps it running alongside the big game reserves - its conservation efforts. Species facing extinction in the wild due to man are being given a chance by places such as Lichtenburg Biodiversity Conservation Centre, found at the zoo, which houses and breeds endangered species such as the white rhino, Pere David’s deer, Cape mountain zebra, scimitar-horned Oryx and Arabian Oryx. The first white rhino to be born in a zoo was at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa. The big game reserves undoubtedly offer thrills and magical moments, but coming to this zoo and witnessing animals that would have already disappeared without its endeavours in conservation offers an entirely different magic.

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa Website.

Written by  John Johnston.

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