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Lisbon Zoo

Lisbon, Poland
1 of 9Archive of Gulbenkian Art Library

The Zoo and Acclimation Garden in Portugal in Lisbon is 136 years old. Inaugurated in 1884 , its original facilities were in the Park of São Sebastião da Pedreira , being transferred in 1894 to the lands of Palhavã, in the land where the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is located today. Later, in 1905, the Zoo was moved to its current location, at Quinta das Laranjeiras, in Sete Rios. The idea for the creation of a zoo in Portugal, namely in Lisbon, dates back to 1882 , according to rumors that started circulating in the Lisbon press in August of that year. At the time, there was still no park in the Iberian Peninsula dedicated to the exotic flora and fauna of the world, although both Spain and Portugal have hosted real menageries before.

Dr. Van Der Laan, owner of the largest aviary in the country at the time, Dr. Sousa Martins and May Figueira. Together they decided to form a zoological and acclimatizing society of animals and plants along the lines of those that already existed in France and the Netherlands, made this easier through Lisbon's exceptional geographical position, thus facilitating the acclimation of species. At the end of that year the group traveled through Europe, visiting zoos already existing in some European capitals, collecting knowledge and practices for the creation of a zoo in Lisbon, after the visits it was necessary to look for men who could afford the expenses and design the buildings, these were Lino Bento de Sousa and the civil engineer and 2nd Baron of Kessler Frederico Luís Hermano, who additionally secured the support of D. Fernando II due to his father's position as his doctor. This adhesion of D. Fernando II attracted other important individuals such as the Minister of the Navy of D. Luís, zoologist José Barbosa du Bocage.

First Years

The public came in large numbers and euphoria at the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by the Royal Family and several authorities. Until the end of the year, there was an influx of 170,000 visitors, who mainly chose the big cats and the fauna of the African continent as their main attraction. The following two years continued to attract many visitors, but various difficulties, including allegedly bad weather, saw a sharp drop in the number of visits, facing the zoo with some difficulties, resolved with a request for subsidies to City Hall of the city, and with the creation of a new attraction, paid boat trips on the park's lake, very popular at the time. With that, the institution managed to balance the revenues and do some works.

The year 1892 started with a severe winter that caused several damage to the garden, such as the cutting down of trees and the destruction of the roof of some pavilions and nurseries. Before the end of the year, the owners of the park, Dr. João António Pinto and D. Maria das Dores Pinto, died, and due to the lack of predisposition of the heirs to extend the loan, the Zoo would have to withdraw from the São Sebastião da Pedreira until the defined deadline.

Moving to Palhavã

In 1894 , the zoo was forced to be content with only the lands of Palhavã (where today the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is located), contiguous to the north with those of São Sebastião da Pedreira, which it had leased for its new facilities. The sowing grounds were difficult to guess due to the lack of vegetation and the difficult comparison with the beauty of the old park, which visitors were already used to. Then there was a rapid afforestation and construction of facilities for the animals. On May 13, 1894, the park was reopened, still without the large lake and the leafy vegetation to which the public had already become accustomed. During this period, the Zoo started selling and exporting animals, of which it had in excess, in order to balance the park's finances. This task was facilitated since the National Navigation Company provided free transport of animals, which also facilitated the arrival of new specimens donated by the various Portuguese colonies in Africa and the East . In the garden bandstand , concerts were also heldby musical bands, which attracted more audiences, turning the Zoo into an authentic cultural space. In 1902, a new tram line ( lane 24) was inaugurated that stopped at the Zoo, thus facilitating the influx of visitors to the park.

Quinta das Laranjeiras

In 28 of May of 1905 took place the inauguration of the new park at Quinta das Laranjeiras. These lands were already heavily wooded, and the area offered more space for the animals' facilities (around 94,000 m²). In August of that year, a leopard escaped while he was being transferred. The animal had to be slaughtered by a member of the National Guard, causing no injuries or material damage, but the press gave the event enormous prominence, even exaggerating in some illustrations. Only in 1907 were the deeds signed with the clauses for the definitive establishment of the Zoo in Parque das Laranjeiras.

At this time, the Zoo faced some health care problems with some species that were slowly becoming extinct in the park, namely chimpanzees . On the other hand, others showed great vivacity and longevity , with bears , griffins , eagles and monkeys that went back to the facilities of São Sebastião da Pedreira and others that showed a high capacity for reproduction, namely felines , bears, deer , wolves and primates . The Zoo continued to receive a wide variety ofAfrican fauna donated by members of their governments and thus, in 1911, the first exchanges of animals with other zoos in the world began.

20th century

In 1912, the Lisbon Zoo asked the collaboration of the architect Raul Lino to design new installations for animals, starting with that of kangaroos. Also in that year, on March 12, the Assembly of the Republic enacted a law that declared the "Zoo and Acclimation of Portugal" as a Public Utility institution, with the decree dated March 1913 . In that same year, the "Grupo do Amigos do Zoológico" was founded, having Dr. Manuel Arriaga as founder and first partner. The year was also marked by the receipt, as a donation, of his first hippopotamus. The institution took advantage of this large animal to run a large advertising campaign , with numerous posters on the streets of the city, registering an increase in visits.

Raul Lino continued his work of requalification and construction of new facilities for animals, especially the monkey village , inspired by the Zoo of Rome, which would become one of the most well-known landmarks of the Zoo and would attract a significant number of visitors after the its inauguration, in May of 1927. Having authorship in other important projects in the zoo like "Palace of the Chimpanzees, the Aviary Madail, the installation of the Hippos, the Island of the Bears, the Cerrado of the Elephants, the House of the Giraffes and the Tower of the Crows ".

Praça Marechal Humberto Delgado 158-160