The Kyiv Zoo (Ukrainian: Київський Зоопарк, Kyivskyi Zoopark) is one of the largest zoos in the former Soviet Union and the only large zoo in Kyiv, Ukraine. Situated on about 40 hectares (99 acres), the zoo is cared for by 378 staff members and receives about 280,000 visitors annually.

Kyiv Zoo
Logo Kiev Zoo.svg
Kyiv Zoo Logo
Жирафа Киевский ЗОО.jpg
Kyiv Zoo entry
Date opened21 March 1909
Ukraine Ukraine
Coordinates50°27′15″N 30°27′46″E / 50.45417°N 30.46278°E / 50.45417; 30.46278Coordinates: 50°27′15″N 30°27′46″E / 50.45417°N 30.46278°E / 50.45417; 30.46278
Land area40 ha (99 acres)
No. of animals1947 (1 January 2010)
No. of species339 (1 January 2010)
Aviary in the zoo. Birds of all breeds stay there over winter.


Ukrainian postage stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of Kyiv Zoo

The Kyiv Zoo was first founded in 1909 by the Nature Lovers Society and was financed by various private donations. During its first years in business, the zoo experienced some hardships and therefore, did not contain many animals, just 17 different types. During the first winter the zoo was opened, the animals had to be kept in the food storage of the main Kyiv railway station, as the zoo's founders had not found a suitable shelter to keep the animals in during cold weather. Eventually, the shelter was found in the Kyiv Botanical Garden. As the zoo prospered, the number of animals had increased, limiting the space available. It was reported that stray animals frightened the employees of the garden.

Only 4 years after the zoo was founded it was given a relatively large, permanent area in the outskirts of Kyiv. In 1913 the animals premises received heating.

Since 1914, as the political instability in Imperial Russia tightened, the development of the zoo was held up. Only after the Russian Revolution ended did the zoo recover. During the 1940s (World War II), Kyiv was occupied by the Nazi German forces, and the zoo was being used by the German garrison. Fortunately, the animals were evacuated out of Kyiv, and later returned after the end of the war.

In 1970 the bird's pavilion was added, which is considered to be the largest in Europe to date. In 1982, the Animals Island was presented, separated from the visitors by small canals. The Animals Island houses the zoo's large cats (like lions and tigers).

In 1996 the zoo was admitted to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. However, in 2007 it was expelled and banned from the association over poor conditions and mistreatment of animals.[1] As at April 2018, the zoo is a "Candidate for Membership" of EAZA and as such is being supported towards resuming full membership.[2]

In 2008 some 51 animals died in the zoo. A series of controversial deaths also unfolded in 2010 when the 39-year-old elephant of the zoo died on April 26, followed by a camel on May 26, and a bison on May 31. The city administration and the zoo authorities blamed poisoning of the animals as cause of the deaths, while animal rights activists accused the substandard living conditions, negligent handling and unqualified zoo administration.[3][4]

In 2009 a Ukrainian postage stamp was introduced to mark the 100th anniversary of the zoo.

In 2020 the zoo received a full renovation / reconstruction to improve the life of the animals in it.


Domestic animals in Kyiv Zoo

Nowadays the zoo occupies a territory of 40 hectares. The different landscape allows the relative comfort for animals in their artificial habitat. According to CBC "the zoo has 2,600 animals from 328 species",[5] including a pair of elephants. 130 different kinds of trees and bushes decorate the zoo's islands.

The zoo is also a research centre, working on acclimatization of far land animals, preserving and reproduction of rare animals, such as the Amur tigers, bisons, Przewalski's Horses and some others. The zoo is now refurbished in 2017 during one year but stay open

Species as of December 31, 2009
Group #Species #Specimens
Birds 98 593
Mammals 59 192
Reptiles 49 135
Amphibians 21 135
Fish 58 530
Invertebrates 54 362
Total: 339 1947



  1. ^ Clifford J. Levy: Tight Times in Ukraine Means Cramped Quarters for Its Zoo Animals, in The New York Times December 22, 2009, retrieved 14 October 2010
  2. ^ EAZA support: Candidates for Membership
  3. ^ Global Post: The world's worst zoos, July 23, 2010, retrieved 14 October 2010
  4. ^ Andriy Kapustin:How many animals will die in Kyiv zoo? in the Kyiv Post, June 3, 2010, retrieved 17 January 2016
  5. ^ Associated Press (23 March 2011). "Kiev zoo a 'concentration camp for animals'". CBC news. Retrieved 27 April 2011.

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