The Aclimacao Zoo and Lisbon MHB is located in Sete Rios, Lisbon, Portugal. At the moment it congregates a representative set of the whole planet, with about 2000 animals of 332 different species, thus divided:
5 amphibians and
1 collection of arthropods.
Inaugurated in 1884, its primitive facilities were in the Parque de São Sebastião da Pedreira, being transferred in 1894 to the lands of Palhavã, in the land where the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is located today. Later, in 1905, the Zoo was transferred to its present location, in Quinta das Laranjeiras, in Sete Rios.
The Zoo is 133 years old.
The idea for the creation of a zoo in Portugal, particularly in Lisbon, dates back to 1882, according to rumors that began to circulate in the Lisbon press in August of that year. At the time, there was no park in the Iberian Peninsula dedicated to the exotic flora and fauna of the world, although both Spain and Portugal had previously hosted real menageries.
His ideals were Dr. Van Der Laan, owner of the country’s largest aviary at the time, Bento de Sousa, Dr. Sousa Martins and May Figueira. Together they decided to form a zoological society and acclimatization of animals and plants in the molds of those that already existed in France and the Netherlands.
Towards the end of that year the group traveled to Europe, visiting the zoos already existing in some European capitals, collecting knowledge and practices for the creation of a zoo in Lisbon.
On February 19, 1883, a group of Portuguese notables met for the presentation of the project, and with the encouragement of King D. Luis himself, a deed was drawn up (September 5, 1883) after the necessary studies and capital raising . Work was then started on the chosen land in São Sebastião da Pedreira, with the construction of pavilions, nurseries and cages, to keep the first animals on display.
Thus, on May 28, 1884, the Lisbon Zoo was officially inaugurated, with a collection of 1127 animals available to the public, some of which were donated by the Royal Portuguese Family and other personalities.
The public attended in great numbers and euphoria to the inauguration ceremony, which was attended by the Royal Family and various authorities. By the end of the year there was an influx of 170,000 visitors, who chose as the main attraction mainly the big cats and the fauna of the African continent.
The following two years continued to attract many visitors, but various difficulties, including alleged bad weather, there was a marked decrease in the number of visits, confronting the zoo with some difficulties, solved with a request for subsidies to the City Hall, and with the creation of a new attraction, paid boat trips on the park’s lake, quite popular at the time. With this the institution managed to balance the revenues and do some works.
The year 1892 began with a rigorous winter that caused several damages in the garden, like the collapse of trees and the destruction of the cover of some pavilions and nurseries. Before the end of the year, the owners of the park, Dr. João António Pinto and D. Maria das Dores Pinto, died, with the purpose of transferring the land where the garden had been installed.
Change to Palhavã
In 1894, the zoo was obliged to be satisfied only with the lands of Palhavã (where today the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is situated), contiguous to the north of those of São Sebastião da Pedreira, who had leased to its new facilities. The sowing grounds were difficult to guess due to the lack of vegetation and the difficult comparison with the beauty of the old park, which visitors were already accustomed to. There was then rapid afforestation and construction of animal facilities.
The 13 of May of 1894 the reinauguration of the park was carried out, still without the great lake and the leafy vegetation to which the public had already become accustomed. In this period, the Zoo started selling and exporting animals, which it had in excess, in order to balance the finances of the park. This task was facilitated by the fact that the National Shipping Company gave up the transport of the animals free of charge, which also facilitated the arrival of new specimens donated by the various Portuguese colonies in Africa and the East. In the bandstand of the garden, concerts also took place on the part of musical bands, which attracted more public, turning the Zoo into an authentic cultural space.
In 1902 was inaugurated a new line of electric (career 24) that stopped at the Zoo, thus facilitating the influx of visitors to the park.
With the lease of the land to be finished in 1905, the garden society, in 1903, decided to rent the land of Quinta das Laranjeiras in Sete Rios, with the generosity of the owner, the Count of Burnay. During the following months the equipment of the Zoo was changed again to the new address.
On May 28, 1905, the inauguration of the new park at Quinta das Laranjeiras took place. These areas were already heavily forested, and the area offered more space for animal facilities (around 94,000 m²). In August of that year, a leopard escaped while being transferred. The animal had to be slaughtered by a member of the National Guard, causing no injuries or material damage, but the Press gave great prominence to the event, even overdoing it in some illustrations.
Only in 1907 were the scriptures signed with the clauses for the definitive establishment of the Zoological Garden in the Laranjeiras Park.
King D. Manuel II was invited as honorary president of the institution, to succeed D. Carlos I, his father.
At this time the Zoological Garden faced some problems related to health care with some species that were slowly extinguished in the park, namely the chimpanzees. On the other hand, others showed great vivacity and longevity, with bears, griffins, eagles and monkeys going back to the facilities of São Sebastião da Pedreira and others that showed high reproduction capacity, namely felines, bears, deer, wolves and primates. The Zoo continued to receive a wide variety of African wildlife donated by members of their governments and thus, in 1911 the first animal exchanges began with other zoos in the world.
In 1912 the Zoological Garden of Lisbon requested the collaboration of the architect Raul Lino to design new facilities for the animals, starting with the kangaroos. Also in that year, on March 12, the Congress of the Republic decreed a law that declared the “Zoo and Aclimação de Portugal” as an institution of Public Utility, with the decree the date of March 1913. Also in that year was founded the “Group of the Friends of the Zoo”, having as first associate the then president of the Republic, Dr. Manuel Arriaga. The year was also marked by the receipt, as a donation, of his first hippopotamus. The institution took advantage of this large animal to make a great publicity campaign, with numerous posters through the streets of the city, registering with this an increase of visits.
In August 1926 the Garden received another important donation of animals, including its first African elephant, offered by the king of Italy along with two dromedaries.
Raul Lino continued his work on requalification and construction of new animal facilities, especially the monkey village, which would become one of the zoo’s best-known landmarks and attract an impressive amount of visitors after its inauguration in May 1927.
The year 1928 was marked by the reception of a large batch of birds from Brazil, offered by the Portuguese consul in Manaus, Mr. Anuplio de Lemos.
On May 22, 1931, the “Solar of the Lions” was inaugurated, with the presence of the President of the Republic and other authorities. The Solar provided an innovative view on these animals, since it had no iron bars in the front, something that pleased the visitors.
The director Cottinelli Telmo filmed in the Zoo in 1933 scenes for his “The Song of Lisbon”, a film that reached great success. In it, the character played by Vasco Santana visits the zoo with his aunts. Also in that year they built the island of the bears and the enclosure of the elephants.
In 1936 there is the death of Manuel Emygdio da Silva, president of the administration, honored with a bust in the park and his name given to a street adjacent to the zoo.
In 1937, among others, only of the colony of Guiné Portuguesa, arrived about 440 animals.
In 1940, at the request of the commissariat for the commemorations of the exhibition “The Portuguese World”, the Zoo gave several animals to participate in the opening parade, among them an Asian elephant.
Its facilities were improved with the execution of new works in the years 1946 and 1947 highlighting the “house of the giraffes”, the “tower of crows”, and also a rustic park where the inhabitants of Lisbon could appreciate a little of the life rural.
In 1949 a homage was paid to Raul Lino with the installation of a gravestone with the name “Raul Lino Garden” in the space of the esplanade of the lake.
Later, in 1952, the city awarded the gold medal with which the Lisbon City Council awarded the institution that year, with the Garden being awarded the two most prestigious awards: the “Public Utility Institution” and the ” Gold Medal of Lisbon “.
In 1955, the zoo received as a gift from the Diamond Company of Angola a male ocapi and received a white rhinoceros, a species that had not been seen in the country since the reign of King Manuel. The “Solar of the Lions” was also requalified and expanded.
The following year (1952) the institution continued to receive more rare specimens including birds from Brazil, polar bears, flamingos, kangaroos plus a rhinoceros and with a prominent gorilla. These new attractions increased the number of visitors (half a million only in the year 1956). It was said at the time that the Lisbon Zoo was one of the most beautiful in Europe.
In the following years, new consignments of animals continued to feature a couple of tigers, crocodiles, chimpanzees, gibbons, a seal of Greenland, a sea turtle.
In 1961, when the zoo surpassed half a million visitors, the new and majestic entrance of Sete Rios was inaugurated in October. In addition, the inauguration of the “Pequeninos Zoo”, a space dedicated to children, was also highlighted. This year was also highlighted by more than 1000 births, of the most varied species, and by the acquisition of a couple of orangutans. A skating rink, the elephant rides and the return of boat trips on the lake were also inaugurated.
The 9 of June of 1965 was made Honorary Member of the Order of Benemerência.
From the year 1965 onwards, there continued to be numerous births, including that of a gorilla in 1969, a species in danger of extinction. In 1972 was born a litter of tigers from Siberia.