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Safari Park Dvůr Králové nad Labem
  The past and the present of the Zoo  
      Dvůr Králové Zoo was established on the premises of a former private park boasting a beautiful building - a copy of a Renaissance castle close to Vienna.
    Richard Neumann, a factory owner, had the house built in 1905. After nationalisation of the textile industry in 1945, the town’s Vlastivědné museum (history museum) was set up in the mansion. Over time, cages containing animal species from Europe were erected which became a part of the museum - the origins of the zoo today.
    Covering an area of 6.5 hectares, the zoological garden was formally opened to the public on 9 May 1946. Josef Fabián was the zoo’s first manager and the museum curator at this time, holding these posts from 1946 to 1953. Surprisingly, all the cages and enclosures had to be constructed by zoo personnel, particularly during the first few decades in the zoo’s history. Most significantly, an old greenhouse for palm trees was transformed into the Tropical House, housing primates, birds, and Rémus, the first lion at Dvůr Králové.

1950s and 1960s: Modernisation
    The first real development of the zoo occurred under František Císařovský, the zoo’s director in 1956 – 1965. Although a lot of construction work was still carried out by staff, the first large modern buildings such as the terrarium, polar bear enclosure, carnivore houses, elephant house and others were put up. In total, the zoo’s grounds increased to 28 ha and the collection was added to with a number of rare and exotic species. At the same time, visitor numbers went up, reaching about 250,000 a year and dramatically raising the profile of Dvůr Králové Zoo amongst other zoos in Czechoslovakia.

African expeditions
    The ’70s were an important time for the zoo, as 8 expeditions were organised to a number of African countries, resulting in around 2000 animals being brought into the collection. This focus on African animals was the brainchild of Josef Vágner (Dipl. Ing. ,CSc.), the zoo’s director between 1965 and 1983. These were largely hoofed animals along with some carnivores, primates, and reptiles. The creatures formed the basis for unique breeding pairs and groups that made the zoo one of Europe’s most important gene banks for numerous African ungulate mammals.

What a difference three years make
    Jiří Svoboda (Dipl. Ing.), the director of the zoo in 1984 – 1986, ushered in a period of intense modernisation, as well as taking charge of updating displays at the zoo. He was responsible for changing exhibits and enclosures so as to imitate natural habitats, getting rid of iron barriers, and landscaping the grounds to help conceal buildings and fencing with palisades and greenery. He also had many buildings and structures erected, which later led to the opening of the African Safari Park to the public under Pavel Suk (DVM), the zoo’s director in 1988 – 1990, on 8 May 1989.

    Recently, a successful breeding programme of rhinos, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, and many antelope species at Dvůr Králové Zoo has occurred under the management of Dana Holečková (Dr.Sc.), the results of which are both extraordinary and globally important. Due to its number of animals, the zoo ranks amongst the largest, best-known and most famous zoological parks in the Czech Republic. Moreover, it boasts the greatest number of African species in Europe, and is considered by some as one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. It is unique in the Czech Republic thanks to the African Safari Park, where visitors can ride through herds of free-ranging animals in special safari buses. This usually takes place from mid-May through to the end of September. Since 2003, double deck buses have been used for this purpose.

    Dvůr Králové Zoo is a member of the Union of Czech and Slovak Zoos (UCSZ), founded in 1990. The Union has 19 members including 15 zoos in the Czech Republic, and 4 in Slovakia.
Zoo is a part of the conservation community worldwide
    Internationally, Dvůr Králové Zoo’s reputation has also been on the rise. Since 1995, the zoo has been a full member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), an organiser of European-wide co-ordinated breeding programmes (EEP). Currently, Dvůr Králové Zoo participates in 33 EEPs. Out of the total number of the species held, 35 have been registered under the European Studbook system (ESB). In addition, Dvůr Králové Zoo became a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in 1997. This association unites about 150 major zoological parks throughout the world. Moreover, the zoo is a member of IZE - International Zoo Educators – and is the only zoo from the former Eastern block with a representative on this body’s senior executive staff.

Source: official site of Zoo Dvůr Králové nad Labem (2011)

WZD - Worldwide Zoo Database
2009 - 2016
Zdroje a autoři: WZD, oficiální stránky ZOO, oficiální tiskové a jiné materiály ZOO (není-li uvedeno jinak); Datum poslední aktualizace: 20. 12. 2017
Sources and authors: WZD, official websites of ZOO, official printed and other matters of ZOO (if it is not stated otherwise); Date of last actualization:20. 12. 2017
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