Starting from modest beginnings in 1949 AD, the Beijing Zoo reached a size of 86 hectares in 1987. Today Beijing Zoo counts 90 hectares and more than 5000 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians of over 450 different species. The Zoo's most recent pride, the Ocean Hall sea aquarium opened in 1999 adds over a 1000 fish and invertebrate animals of over 500 species to the collection. Moreover, the Ocean Hall invites visitors to join in the fun and features exciting shows with Dolphins,
History of the Beijing Zoo
The location of today's Beijing Zoo was first
known as "The Garden of Happiness and Friendship" and originated as the site of an Imperial Mansion during the Ming Dynasty. Much later during the 18Th Century and the Ching Dynasty the site was known as Sanbeizi Gardens. Beijing Zoo as an institute however was first established in 1906 AD, during the 32nd year of the Reign of Emperor Guangxu, the very last years of the Qing Dynasty that ended in 1911 (Pu Yi). First named "Garden of Ten Thousand Animals" (Wansheng Yuan) and part of the Imperial Family Gardens and
Estates the Garden was initially an agricultural
research center which included a small 3,5
hectare zoological garden. The Garden was first
open to the Public in June of the year 1908 AD.
Animals were bred and plants cultivated at the
Center. The first animals of the Zoo were ordered
from German Animal Trader and enthousiast
With the elimination of the Qing Dynasty the
garden long fell into disrepair although there was a short period of rebirth in the late 1920's during the KuoMingTang Nationalist Government. It was once more near abandonned when Beijing lost it's status as Capital of China in 1928 to Nanking and all animals were moved there.
The Zoological Park would only be restored after the Revolution. In 1950 AD, the site was initially turned into a
- Beijing Dongwuyuan - Beijing's World Famous Zoo -
Largest inland Aquarium in China !
Panda family enjoying afternoon inside their winter home at Beijing Zoo.
Penguins of the South Arctic Sea.
The endangered lesser Panda (or small Red Panda) with it's distinctive face, now found only in Nepal, Bhutan and Sichuan.
The rare and endangered Manchurian Tiger, ruler of the Snows.
Schematic Map of Beijing Zoo grounds
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- Click to Enlarge -
ponds and springs.
With increasing affluence of China and the City of Beijing, Beijing's Zoo is again investing in the enlargment of its grounds to make room for the modernisation of some of it's older animal accomodations. The Zoo's many animal pavilions and enclosure area's now cover 90.000 square meters inside the Park and include the largest inland Aquarium in China - Beijing Ocean Hall. A large and modern Penguin Pool and Pavilion have newly arisen. The Zoo Grounds now count more than 30 large halls in total, strewn among which some original buildings dating to the Ching Dynasty.
The pride of the Zoo are mainly rare animals indigenous to China and South- and East-Asia. Its major attraction the Giant Panda House, the equally rare and nearly extinct Small Red Panda, the large inland aquarium known as Ocean Hall,
the Hippo and Rhino house, the Golden Monkey (tamarin) Pavillion and the Bird Garden. Last
Entrance to Beijing Zoo in Spring the 1980's.
Beijing Zoo 2005 Ticket
Passersby in front of the Beijing Zoo's Entrance in Haidian District (Photo November 2004).
Beijing Zoo is located on XizhiMen Wai Dajie across from the Planetarium and this gigantic glass box, the 4 directions development company.
Source Magazine Beijing this Month - always the Best and the Latest on Beijing !
Map of the entire 90+ hectares of the New Beijing Zoo.
- Click Map to go to Enlarged View of Map -
entertain the public, contributing to a greater awareness of the values of wildlife and the environment. Winning many awards from the National Governement, the park aims to
enhance Public Awareness and spread
scientific knowledge about animals, habitat and
the larger world environment thus highlighting
their importance for mankind and making a true contribution to biodiversity protection, and
upkeep of the eco-system and environment in China and beyond.
Beijingers and their Beijing Zoo
As early as the year 2004, proposals have
been made to Move the Beijing Zoo to a new and more spacious location 35 kilometers away,
Beijing Zoo - How to get There
Beijing Zoo can easily be found, located in the North-Western City outside former XizhiMen Gate at the 2nd Ring Road. Just find the location of former Xizhimen Gate which is now the architecturally progressive Xizhimen Station a train and subway/metro station on the border of Haidian and XiCheng Districts. From there look westwards and find the Zoo and Park.
The Beijing Zoo is surrounded by interesting stop-offs and attractions. To the East lie the Beijing Exhibition Hall beyond which is XizhiMen Station. To the West are the soviet style Capital Gymnasium, the China Mint Building and the Purple Bamboo Gardens. Across XizhiMen Outer Street from the Zoo one finds the Beijing Planetarium, which has been there since the year 2004, and adjacent a large Glass Box that is part of the 4 directions development company. Other nearby landmarks include the Beijing Sea Aquarium, which is not in view of the main entrance but some distance East and upstreet from Xizhimen Station. North of Beijing Zoo, just across Nanchang River is the interesting Five Pagoda Temple and Stele Museum of Beijing.
station from which it is a considerable distance walking to the West. A Taxi Cab will take you right up to the
get out, buy
and start your
Seals and other marine animals. It is big fun for kids and adults alike.
receives around 6
yearly from all
over China and
around the World,
a number growing
year. Beijing Zoo
is the largest
park in China,
covering an area
of 86 hectares and is located on the south bank of the NanChang River, on the north-
west border of XiCheng District, just inside the southern stretches of Haidian District. 10% of the Park consist of waters with the rest offering a rich landscape of dense vegetations, bamboos, open grassland,
but not least Beijing Zoo prides itself for its highly developed education center with nationwide and international relevance. Many rare and endangered animals from around the world have found a new home at Beijing's Internationally acclaimed Zoo. Through great effort and intensive research biologists and scientist have succeeded in breeding many of these species.
Nowadays internationally acclaimed, Beijing Zoo is not merely an entertainment Park, but is a wildlife sanctuary and national educational institute. Through visitors visits and publications the Park workers and Keepers wish to educate as well as
somewhere on the City Outskirts, but public outcry on this, proclaiming the Zoo an inseperable part of City Life has so far prevented any real actions. No such move is imminent.
Many Haidian- and other Beijing-Citizens go for a walk in the wildlife park regularly. Naturally, through the years the Zoo has been a magnet for local children and pleasure for local elders and dreamers. On the weekends the park fills with families for whom the Park is a getaway from cramped city life or summer heat.
Not everyone is as positive about the Zoo as the locals, however. Many tourists are disappointed when not finding a hyper-modern state of the art facility found only in the richest of nations on earth. Just to give you some idea, here a quote from a Tourist Blog on Beijing Zoo- "Beijing Zoo: Chinese prison camp for animals. The pitiful pandas here probably wish they were buried at Ming Tombs ...". Another said : "Those animals are a sad sight. I -->
Colorful Tropical Flamingo's at Beijing Zoo.
Public Park and known as XiJiao Gongyuan or Western Suburbs Park, which included a collection of animals. Some years later, in 1955, the Garden was officially renamed Beijing Zoo and opened to the
public as a zoological garden. The Beijing Zoo immediatly found an international
audience among wildlife connaisseurs of the time.
In ways Animal Rights and a love and interest for the environment have become quite fashionable in China. After organized travel became possible earlier, outdoors trekking is the latest rage with many chinese discovering the beauty of the outdoors for the first time in their lives. Arguing for Pet-Animal Rights also seems a new let out for energy of disgruntled Beijing Citizens, new freedoms being expressed through the arguing for better animal treatment, starting often with pets. The internet carries this message through blogs and sites to many a chinese citizen.
Lately the Zoo has become a rallying point for Animal Rights Actions as local Beijing animal
lovers and pet-owners organized a protest against new Beijing Pet-Animal Laws in the fall of
2006 (11 or 12 November). A large and excited crowd had assembled to save the pet-animals
from imminent destruction and vent anger at the new City legislation and other woes. It was big
and heated emotional scene. Many 100's of People showed up and the affair lasted all afternoon.
hope the conditions are improving. But when you are an animal lover you better don't visit Beijing Zoo!!!".
True, some parts of the Zoo date back as far as the year 1910 AD. However, foreign visitors seem too eager to forget what the western zoo's looked like in the 1970's. Eversince 1985 a lot of improvements have been made to the Beijing Zoo and it's animal habitats. The grounds have been enlarged. A New Panda Hall was built as soon as it was financially feasable (1990). The new Ocean Hall built in 1999 is examplary for its clean, modern and fashionable style. The zoo would like to build a completely new panda facility in time for the 2008 Olympics. New developments continue in and around the Beijing Zoo including the mentioned possible complete relocation to a larger more suitable site for wildlife.
Much is however still needed to increase public awareness on environmental issues and the treatment of animals by individual chinese citizens. Tragically, often through ignorance, the Beijing Zoo is still regularly the site of animal mistreatment, teasing and illegal feeding by unruly visitors. The stress of this treatment is visible on many of the exhibited animals. As a proper illustration, the latest incident on
Giant Panda's at the Beijing Zoo basking in warm sunlight on the first day outside in the new season.
september 19, 2006 involved a drunken man jumping into the panda enclosure and molesting a Panda Bear by biting and kicking it. Unheard of, even in China. Naturally, the ingnorant drunk should have never been allowed to enter the Zoo in the first place, but the man escaped with his life although bitten repeatedly and no sanctions were put upon him, possibly demonstrating a lack of assertiveness by the Zoo Management. (Read about the Incident here - Man Bites Bear at Beijing Zoo).
Sadly, not all Zoo staffers are equally active in countering public interference with the animals, regardless of clear signs prohibiting any such behaviour. There is however some light on the horizon.
Public awareness on environmental issues, traditionally near nil in China, is fast growing. China Central Television regularly has educational programs on local wildlife and/or natural historic sites. Beijing Zoo and other institutes are similarly contributing to a better preservation of the wild by Chinese Citizens themselves, attempting a grass-roots effort at education.
Beijing Zoo was the first Zoo to be opened to the public in all of China and is the
oldest Zoo in the Asian-Pacific Region. As such it is renowned as a National
Institute having an early and extensive collection of animal species, and of course for its world famous Panda's Beijing Zoo has alway served as a National Emblem of the Chinese State. Animals given to China and the Chinese Governement as a gift and token of Friendship are kept here at Beijing Zoo for show and scientific research.
Young chimp playing with a blanket at Beijing Zoo.
A Huge brown Bear at Beijing Zoo amidst Candy thrown into his Pit.
Other Beijing Zoo's and Wildlife Parks
Modern Beijing, by now (2007) counts no less than 7 large animal related entertainment Parks, Zoo's and Museums. The other worthwhile parks in Beijing are the Beijing Seaquarium, just North of Beijing Zoo in Haidian District and the new Lark Park on which we no information, yet.