zoological gardens

zoological gardens
   Famous for the birth in 1983 of a giant panda, Chulín, by artificial insemination, and for its collection of other rare and unusual animals, such as the Komodo dragon and a pair of red pandas from Nepal, the modern Madrid Zoo was opened in the Casa del Campo in the early 1970s, when many other zoos and safari parks were also founded. It was, however, the immediate successor to the much older Madrid zoo, the Real Casa de Fieras del Retiro (Royal Animal House of the Retiro Park), founded by Charles III around 1770, as the second oldest in the world after Vienna (1756), rebuilt by Ferdinand VII and closed in 1972. Among its exhibits were lions from the Atlas mountains. Also much older than others in Spain is the Barcelona Municipal Zoo, opened in 1892, which by the 1980s was complete with aquarium, aviary, reptile house and dolphinarium, and which specializes in anthropoid apes, the most famous being the white gorilla Snowflake. Several safari parks were opened in the 1970s, such as the first of them, the Río-León Safari, Tarragona, the Auto-Safari African Reserve on Mallorca and the Safari del Rincón, Madrid, at that time the largest in Europe. In the 1980s the Valladolid Zoo-Park was founded, combining traditional with open, safari-type enclosures.
   A much more specialist centre, the Parque de Rescate de Fauna Sahariana (Rescue Park for Sahara Fauna), Almeria, was established by the CSIC in 1971 to preserve Saharan species on the verge of extinction.
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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