The Berlin Zoo in Tiergarten is not only a beautifully designed Zoo and a great way to spend a beautiful Berlin day, but it also has a really interesting history and has quite a few distinctions. As far as I know, it is the oldest zoo in Germany opening in 1844 and the ninth to open in Europe (of the 9 I don’t know if all of them are still open today).
With around 1,500 species and almost 20,500 animals, it has one of the most comprehensive collection of species in the world. Our club, Willkommen in Berlin, was invited for a private tour of the grounds by the lovely people of the Zoo.
The original collection of animals were from Pfaueninsel, or Peacock Island, a picturesque nature preserve built around two hundred years ago by Prussian King Frederick William III as his summer residence. He set up a private zoo with a birdhouse, a waterfowl pond, a bear pit, and enclosures for kangaroos, llamas, deer, and water buffalo. His successor Frederick William IV was not very keen keeping them so he decreed them to be part of the very first Zoo.
When guests are asked, what they want to see, the most popular answer is the mighty Lion. But our tour guide told us that Lions mostly sleep during the day so we most probably won’t see anything exciting. She was quite right, but they were so cute. It’s so funny for me because that’s how Diplo Dog sleeps (left).
We spent a lot of time with the different monkeys and apes and learned so many interesting things.
If you notice there are little holes in the rock below. Zoo keepers put some yogurt in it and the only way the monkey can enjoy it is to use a stick. I caught him/her in the act of getting his treat. How smart!
We also learned about how many animals face extinction, because it is hard for them to successfully produce offspring in captivity. But to let them lose would also not be good, because of the many evil poachers out there. And animals who are used to captivity have a hard time surviving in the wild.
An elephant scratching his bottom haha!
We were treated to a special chance to feed the Hippos. Hippos are the most dangerous animals in the entire Zoo because unlike the other scary animals, they attack when threatened. We were given some old bread to throw at them. The sweetest thing is that they open their moths to beg. Awwww!
This was really such a memorable Willkommen in Berlin event for me and I am forever grateful that they organised it for us. The Berlin Zoo staff were amazing to us, and I was really impressed by their knowledge of their animals, the history of the Zoo and their deep personal connection with their beloved animals.