The Beiijing Zoo is the preeminent zoo of china and historically one of the most fascinating anywhere. A very old animal facility, the zoo has been built and rebuilt several times, and restocked with fresh animal populations on more than one occasion. Over the last few decades it has been completely overhauled into a modern facility and is one Beijing’s top cultural showcases. Today it is one of the world’s top zoos in terms of species, animals and visitors.
The zoo traces its roots back to royal menageries that may have existed as long ago as the 17th century. It became a true zoo in the early 1900s with the arrival of donated exotic animals. It was supported and visited by the Empress Dowager before the fall of the Qing Dynasty. The zoo underwent trying times in the 20th century, losing most of its animals during World War II and suffering closures during the Communist era. Beginning in the 1970s, the government began developing the Beijing zoo into a major facility, and it is now one of the ten largest zoos in the world.
The Beijing Zoo is home nearly fifteen thousand animals of almost a thousand species. Virtually every corner of the Earth is represented, with a great focus on Asian and African animals. Not surprisingly, most of China’s native fauna is present, especially the countyr’s beloved mascot, the Panda Bear. In 1999 the zoo added a major aquarium, the largest such facility in China.
The Beijing Zoo is located on the northwest side of the city, approximately four miles from Tienenman Square. It is open year round. As of this writing no visitor information was available. Web: www.beijingzoo.com (official website).