|Location||Wenshan, Taipei, Taiwan|
The Taipei Zoo, sometimes referred to as the "Muzha Zoo", is a public zoological garden in Wenshan District, Taipei, Taiwan. It is the most famous zoological garden in Taiwan and a leader in conservation, research and education, and recreation. It is one of the largest zoos in Asia, with a total area of 165 hectares, of which more than 90 ha are developed.
The Taipei Zoo was founded as Maruyama Zoo (Japanese: , Hepburn: Maruyama D?butsuen) in 1914, when Taiwan was under Japanese rule, in Mt. Maruyama (modern-day Yuanshan) on the northern suburb of Taihoku (modern-day Taipei). It was originally a private zoological garden owned by a Japanese citizen, Mr. Oe. The Japanese government in Taiwan bought the property the following year and opened it as a public park. After World War II, the Republic of China (ROC) retreated to Taiwan and the ownership of the park was passed to the Taipei City Government of ROC. An Asian elephant named Lin Wang that served with the Chinese Expeditionary Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and later relocated to Taiwan with the Kuomintang forces was moved to the zoo, and lived out most of his life and was the most popular animal at the zoo, and the most famous animal in Taiwan until it received 2 pandas from China. Many adults and children alike affectionately called the bull elephant "Grandpa Lin Wang". Due to a need for expansion and for better conditions for the animals, the zoo was moved to its current site in Muzha on the southeastern suburb of Taipei City in 1986. It is, therefore, sometimes referred to as the "Muzha Zoo" to be distinguished from the former "Yuan-shan Zoo". The current site encloses 165 hectares, including 90 hectares open to the public.
The zoo was badly hit during Typhoon Soudelor on 8 August 2015 which caused NT$10 million of loss with additional NT$4 million in reparation cost. The zoo opened again on 11 August 2015 while some parts of it were still kept closed.
The Taipei Zoo displays animals from Taiwan, Australia, Africa, the Asian tropical rainforest, the desert, and the temperate zones. The zoo also displays domestic animals in its Children's Zoo, as well as over 12000 birds of over 130 species in an aviary. Other exhibitions in the zoo include an insectarium, amphibian and reptile house, penguin habitat, koala habitat, nocturnal animals display, and a panda exhibition.
In 2008, the zoo received two pandas from the People's Republic of China (PRC), named Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan (meaning "reunion"), as a gesture of unity. The gift of the endangered pandas had been rejected by President Chen Shui-bian in 2005 who viewed it as a propaganda tool against Taiwan's independence, but the next president, Ma Ying-jeou, of the Kuomintang, had forged stronger economic and diplomatic relations with the PRC under his presidency, and was willing to accept them. The offering of pandas as a gift from the PRC is often known as "panda diplomacy", and the zoo expected to draw around 30,000 visitors a day as a result of their arrival. The move was criticized by supporters of Taiwan's independence and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, who said that "Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan means a union, which perfectly matches Beijing's goal of bringing Taiwan into its fold."
The Pangolin dome is a pavilion which was completed in 2019 at a cost of NT$390 million. Its design was inspired by the shape of a pangolin and is intended to raise public awareness about wildlife trafficking in general and more specifically the pangolin trade. The pavilion sits on 1.5 hectares, is 24 meters tall, and comprises six outdoor exhibits and one indoor. The large dome shaped indoor exhibit is used to display tropical rainforest species.
Media related to Taipei Zoo at Wikimedia Commons