Dublin Zoo has reached a new milestone in its history. The Daily Shift’s Lauren Kelly has the full story…
Dublin Zoo has broken last year’s record of one million visitors with twenty-nine thousand extra people passing through its gates in 2012, making it Ireland’s most popular family attraction.
The zoo made their first ever million in 2011, having opened 180 years ago.
Director of Dublin Zoo Leo Oosterweghel said that “reaching 1 million in 2011 was fantastic but to do it again and add to that number is phenomenal.”
According to Mr Oosterweghel, development over the last few years has made the zoo one of the best in the world, praising the hard work and dedication of the zookeepers.
“Over the past two decades Dublin Zoo has transformed into a world-class centre of learning about wildlife and conservation. It is also an integral part of more and more European breeding programmes for endangered species,” he said.”
Visitors came in their droves to welcome Dublin Zoo’s new arrivals which included two meerkat pups, two red panda cubs, a rare eastern tapir calf, two snowy owls and a sea lion pup.
One visitor, Paul Kenny from Athlone, is no stranger to the animals as he went to the zoo one hundred times in 2012, and has a total of 205 visits to date.
“My first visit of 2012 was number 105, reaching my 200th visit on my birthday in December,” he recalled. “I realised that if I went four more times that I would make the hundred for the year,” he added.
The aspiring zookeeper believes that the zoo’s popularity is down to the animals and staff.
Two young lionesses and Upali, the bull elephant, were also among the new animals. It is hoped that Dublin Zoo’s breeding programme will help to double its number of elephants in the coming years.
Over 429,000 people also tuned into ‘The Zoo Christmas Special’ which was aired in December.