Belgrade Zoo

Belgrade Zoo

Belgrade Zoo is located at the Belgrade’s Fortress in the historic center of the city. Apart from the beauty of the wildlife and flora, visitors will also have a chance to enjoy the historical heritage of the city and the charm of the fortress. Attractions of Belgrade Zoo that set it apart from the other zoos are certainly the white lions, white tigers and the oldest American alligator in the world.

Belgrade Zoo is located in the city center at Belgrade’s Fortress- one of the main historic ant tourist attractions of the city. According to some it is a unique zoo in the world, since apart from the numerous rare animals (rarely found in other zoos), this zoo is located within the walls of a city’s fortress. Due to this fact, visitors will have a chance to enjoy the charm of the fortress and that of the natural wonders, on the grounds on which the first inhabitants of the city built their homes, already in the Neolithic period. Belgrade’s Zoo was founded by the Mayor of the city and an industrialist, Vlada Ilic, in 1936.
Since its foundation, the area of the Zoo was constantly enlarged until it reached its maximum area of 14 hectares before the beginning of the Second World War. During the Second World War the zoo was bombed twice, first by the Nazi Germany forces and secondly by the Alay forces in 1944. During this period almost the entire wildlife was destroyed. After the war had ended, due to the decimated wildlife, the area of the Zoo was reduced to 7 hectares, which is its current size.
In Belgrade’s Zoo there are more than 200 animal species and more than 2,000 animals. In this astonishing variety of life, white lions, white tigers and the oldest American Alligator in the world are the attractions that set it apart from other zoos.
The Belgrade’s Zoo also has its heroes: chimpanzee Sami, German Shepherd Gabi and the wise alligator Muja. You can read amazing stories of these, nothing less than heroes, under the interesting facts.

Ticket prices for the Belgrade’s Zoo
Regular ticket price is: 400 RSD.
Reduced ticket price is: 300 RSD.
Student excursions (more than 15 individuals): 250 RSD.
We advise you to check ticket prices and working hours before visiting – check the official website of the Belgrade’s Zoo.

Working hours of the Belgrade’s Zoo
The zoo is open every day from 08:00 to 19:30h.
The zoo is open on all of 365 days in the year.

Interesting facts
Chimpanzee Sami was the first chimpanzee to have become the resident of the zoo in 1988. Since these animals are really powerful and intelligent, Sami was placed in especially reinforced cage, which would prevent the animal to escape and hurt someone among the visitors. With all precaution measures in place, Sami managed to escape and nonetheless two times. The mild temper was demonstrated by the animal – it did not hurt anyone in its walks through the city center of Belgrade. Sami passed away in 1992 and in the place he was buried, visitors can see a monument built in his honor.

First Sami’s escape- Sami managed to break the steel bars on the cage, jump over the fence of the zoo and start its stroll through the city center of Belgrade. When the passersby realized it is not a joke, they started to run away in panic and to hide their children. The police patrols managed to block the animal at Studentski Park when they were contacted by Vuk Bojovic, the director of the Zoo. Vuk managed to cheer up Sami and with words:”Come on Sami, let’s go home”, he took the animal for its hand, took it to his car and drove back to the Zoo. Those that are familiar with the temper and strength of these animals would agree that this act took a lot of courage.

Second Sami’s escape- Sami of course broke the steel bars on his cage and went in the direction of the zoo’s canteen where employees of the zoo were having breakfast. When he was spotted by the workers, the employees started to jump through the window in panic and to run away from the animal. As if it was a joke, Sami exited the canteen and appeared again in front of the employees. In a complete confusion and panic the employees now started to jump through the same window back to the canteen. Chased by the police forces, Sami managed to reach Cara Dusana Street and to climb to the roof of a garage. The news of the second Sami’s escape swiftly reached a large number of citizens, who appeared in front of the garage with banners “Do not give yourself up!, We are with you! Do not get down! etc”. In spite of the support of several thousands of citizens, Sami was brought back to the zoo at the end.

Female German Shepherd Gabi- Gabi was in charge of patrolling the zoo together with the night guard patrol. One night, Gabi ran to a bush leaving behind the completely confused guard. After hearing the sounds of fighting, the guard understood what happened. A female jaguar had escaped from its cage. Gabi managed to keep the attention of the jaguar all until the help arrived. This fireless lady was found all cured up in a pool of blood next to the jaguar cage. Swiftly the dog was taken to the Veterinary Faculty of the Belgrade University, where they managed to stabilize the dog after numerous surgeries. After a few months, Gabi succeeded in making her first steps again and completely healed after sometime. To honor her bravery, the employees of the Zoo commissioned a monument to Gabi, which was finished during her life. This way the workers showed their gratitude to the loyalty and bravery of the dog, whose actions most probably saved lives.

American Alligator Muja- Muja is considered the oldest American Alligator in the world. He was bought in 1937 from a zoo in Germany, already as a fully grown animal. Muja managed to survive the horrors of the Second World War, during which the zoo was boomed twice and in which most of the animals were killed.

According to the stories of eyewitnesses, during the bombings of the Second World War, people believed that the zoo would not be considered a valid target which is why they ran to the zoo in order to survive the bombing. However, the zoo was not spared and a large number of people died here, especially in the cave where nowadays visitors can see zebras and antelopes.

Many animals of the zoo were killed during the Second World War bombing. Eyewitnesses talked about a gruesome sight of an elephant blown to pieces. The animals that survived escaped to the city center, where those that posed a threat to humans had to be shot.

The author of the article

N. Anđelić
BSc in demography
For any information regarding organized tourist tours of Belgrade do not hesitate to contact me.

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