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A Wildlife Spot in Sofia
The oldest and largest by area zoo on the Balkan Peninsula is the Sofia Zoo. It dates back to 1888. It was founded in the park of the Royal Palace by Prince Ferdinand’s decree. Its fi rst inmates were a couple of black vultures. The king’s interest went beyond the animals captured in Bulgaria. In 1892 the fi rst couple of lions was brought in and the same year they had a male cub.
In 1893 the well-known ornithologist Dr. Paul Leverkun was appointed director of the Zoo. Three years later he was succeeded by Bernard Kurzius, who was director of the Zoo for more than forty years.
In 1894 a voliere for pheasants was constructed as well as the first pond, populated with rose pelicans. The same year arrived a dromedary (Arabian camel), deer vappiti, Mediterranean besoar goats, Californian crested quails and many other animals. Since 1893 three days a week the Zoo was open to visitors, who were so numerous that there were guards during visiting hours.
The Zoo has one of the largest volieres for birds of prey in Europe. Here black, whiteheaded and Egyptian vultures are bred under the Vultura program, started in conjunction with other conservation organizations for the restoration of the populations of these rare and beautiful birds.
In 1997 the animal adoption program was introduced. Anyone can adopt one’s favourite animal, providing for its maintenance.
The zoo festivals, weeks of the wild flora and fauna, zoo shows and video-shows are only part of the events organised for visitors by the Environmental Education Centre with Sofia Zoo.
The exact address of the Zoo is: Sofia, 1 Srebarna St.
Opening hours during the summer season, 9.00 - 19.00, and during the winter season,
9.00 - 17.00.
Tel.: +359 2 8682043