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​Zoological Society of London: Highlights from 1965 to 2015



  • ZSL’s Nuffield Institute was opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, to provide a centre for carrying out conservation science.
  • The Casson Elephant House opened to the public – no longer home to pachyderms, the exhibit was designed to resemble an elephant’s watering hole from above.
  • The famous Snowdon Aviary, designed by Lord Snowdon, opened to the public providing a beautiful immersive experience for Zoo visitors to get close to birds as they soared overhead.


  • ZSL London Zoo’s Clore Pavilion for Small Mammals was opened by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, the building is today known as Rainforest Life and the tropical biome is home to animals from South American including sloths, titi monkeys and tamarins.


  • The Emperor of Japan visited ZSL London Zoo and Regent’s Park and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.


  • HRH The Duke of Edinburgh opened the Sobell Pavilion for Apes and Monkeys – the exhibit no longer stands at ZSL London Zoo, and the space is now occupied by Gorilla Kingdom.


  • The arrival of giant pandas Ching-Ching and Chia-Chia at ZSL London Zoo made headlines up and down the country .


  • The ‘New Lion Terraces’ were opened by HM The Queen – ZSL London Zoo is currently in the midst of constructing a brand new lion exhibit, ‘Land of the Lions’ due to open in Spring 2016. .


  • The Zoological Society of London co-ordinated the release of Pere David’s deer in Da Feng, China. The release included deer bred at ZSL London Zoo’s sister site, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.


  • The Queen and Prince Philip visited the Zoo. Prince William visited the Insect House, followed by the Prince and Princess of Wales.


  • The Zoological Society of London was granted a new Royal Charter by the Privy Council.
  • The Zoological Society of London released one hundred sand gazelles into the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia.
  • The Ambika Paul Children’s Zoo was built with the funds donated by Lord Swraj Paul in memory of his daughter.


  • Four thousand British field crickets, bred at ZSL London Zoo, were released into southern England; the biggest ever release of a zoo-bred animal.


  • HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, officially opened the Millennium Conservation Centre, home to B.U.G.S – ZSL London Zoo’s diverse invertebrate house, celebrating biodiversity on earth.
  • ZSL launched its first website.


  • The Zoological Society of London celebrated its 175 year anniversary.


  • The Komodo dragon enclosure was unveiled by Sir David Attenborough at ZSL London Zoo.
  • ZSL London Zoo opened the walk-through African Bird Safari.
  • The wonderfully-immersive Meet the Monkeys walk-through exhibit was opened, home to cheeky Bolivian black-capped squirrel monkeys.


  • ZSL’s expert aquarists assisted in rescuing approximately 950 exotic fish and coral that had been illegally imported from Indonesia and was seized at Heathrow.


  • Gorilla Kingdom opened at ZSL London Zoo, home to a troop of critically endangered western lowland gorillas.
  • EDGE of Existence programme launched, concentrating on world’s most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species.


  • The stunning tropical bird house, the Blackburn Pavilion, opened at ZSL London Zoo, by a Queen Victoria lookalike.
    ZSL London Zoo’s Outback exhibit opened on the site of the famous bear mountain.


  • ZSL London Zoo’s brand new children’s zoo, Animal Adventure, opened with kune kune pigs, aardvarks, and llamas on display.
  • Three giant Galapagos tortoises arrived at ZSL London Zoo and were unveiled in the brand new Giants of the Galapagos exhibit.


  • Once thought of extinct, the Horton Plains slender loris was found in Sri Lanka by ZSL’s conservationists, with first ever photos taken.
  • Three part ITV documentary ‘The Zoo,’ aired on prime time television.


  • Penguin Beach opened at ZSL London Zoo – home to a colony of Humboldt penguins and one rockhopper, the exhibit features England's biggest penguin pool.


  • ZSL London Zoo opened Tiger Territory, a 2,500sqm (27,000sqft) enclosure for critically endangered Sumatran tigers that replicates their natural Indonesian habitat, leading to the successful breeding of three precious cubs.


  • Thug and Nicky, ZSL London Zoo’s resident pygmy hippo pair, moved into a luxury new home, replete with Jacuzzi baths and a solar-heated indoor pool.


ZSL London Zoo houses a diverse and incredible range of reptiles, fish, invertebrates, birds and mammals, with more than 750 different species being cared for by the Zoo’s experts.

ZSL London Zoo participates in international conservation breeding programmes for 130 different species, and is helping to inspire, educate and impassion its visitors every day to work for wildlife.


For more information on the Zoological Society London, check out the website here.