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© DR

Located in the heart of Monaco, the Zoological Gardens were founded in 1954 by Prince Rainier III, a strong advocate for animals. They provide a home for animals which have been abandoned and those rescued as a result of customs seizures.

Overlooking the Port of Fontvieille on the southern flank of the Rocher, Monaco’s Zoological Gardens are home to more than 300 animals representing around 60 different species: exotic birds (macaws, cockatoos, parakeets, etc.), lemurs, reptiles in enormous vivariums (pythons, turtles, etc.), fish and amphibians, small mammals (porcupines, prairie dogs, raccoons, etc.) and domestic animals (rabbits, pigs, goats and other farmyard animals, etc.).

For nearly 35 years, the biggest draw in the one-hectare park has been the hippopotamus Pollux. The Zoological Gardens adopted Pollux in June 1986, after the Amar-Carrington circus closed down.

Because there is one thing which makes the Zoological Gardens in Monaco unique: it rescues abandoned animals or those found during customs seizures. Other animals come to the Gardens as a result of trades with other parks. When the park’s facilities mean that it is no longer possible to offer good living conditions, the animals are transferred to more appropriate homes.

© DR
© DR

In 2008, two leopards were sent to South Africa so that the big cats, aged 16, “could have access to a space that better suited their needs in the final years of their lives,” as Prince Albert II explained at the time.

Over the last decade or so, the Zoological Gardens have focused primarily on small species, including birds and farm animals, with an educational purpose in mind.

The Gardens are not intended as an exhibition but as somewhere for the animals to live. It is a home, not a business.

Laurent Peyronel, Director of the Zoological Gardens

© DR
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