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Dublin Zoo, situated in the Phoenix Park, Dublin is the largest zoo in Ireland and one of Dublin's most popular tourist attractions. Founded in 1830 it is also the third oldest zoo in the world, after London and Paris. It receives over 500,000 visitors per year. The zoo describes its role in three parts: those of conservation, study, and education. Its stated mission is to “work in partnership with zoos world-wide to make a significant contribution to the conservation of the natural diversity of life on Earth.”
Dublin Zoo is part of a worldwide program to breed endangered species. It is a member of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which coordinates the conservation of endangered species in Europe. Each species supervised by the EEP has a single coordinator selected by the owners of the animals. The coordinator is responsible for the building of breeding groups with the aim of obtaining a genetically-balanced population. Dublin Zoo manages the EEP for the golden lion tamarin and the Moluccan cockatoo . It also houses members of the species Goeldi’s monkey and the white-faced saki which are part of EEPs coordinated by other zoos.
The zoo, then called the Zoological Gardens Dublin, was opened on September 1 1831 under the auspices of the Zoological Society of Dublin, which had been formed on May 10 1830 for that purpose. The original animals, 46 mammals and 72 birds, were donated by London Zoo.
In 1994 the Government of Ireland granted Dublin Zoo IR£15 million to help it reach commercial self-sufficiency so that future government subsidies would be unnecessary. As part of the plan, drawn up by the Zoological Society of Ireland and the Office of Public Works, a number of themed areas were developed: the World of Primates, the Fringes of the Arctic, the World of Cats, the City Farm, and the African Plains.
World of Primates
The World of Primates became the first themed area in Dublin Zoo when it was opened in 1996. It consists of a series of man-made islands, ranging in size from about 15 m2 to about 30 m2, in a natural lake. Each island is home to a different species, and is linked by bridge to sleeping enclosures on shore. The islands are covered with climbing frames and trees for the climbing primates. The World of Primates houses Celebes macaques , chimpanzees, eastern colobus monkeys , red ruffed lemurs , siamang gibbons and spider monkeys.
In Summer 2000 the zoo opened the African Plains, a savannah for the zoo's large African animals. The zoo was given 13 hectares that had been part of the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin, the presidential residence, to accommodate the new area. The addition of the African Plains doubled the size of the zoo.
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