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France

In pictures: Public flocks back to Paris Zoo after six-year break

© Joseph Bamat

Video by Charlotte HAWKINS

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2014-04-13

The Paris Zoological Park, the French capital's largest zoo, has re-opened its doors to the public following a six year closure and major renovations.

Crowds gathered early on Saturday morning at the entrance of the park, better known as the Zoo de Vincennes, eager to be among the first to explore Paris's newest attraction.

After a major publicity campaign, organisers expected between 20,000 and 25,000 visitors to flock to the zoo on its first day alone.

Inaugurated in 1934, the zoo was showing signs of major wear by the early 1990s and struggling to adequately host visitors and care for its resident species.

It fully closed in 2008 to gradually vacate almost all of the animals, finding temporary homes for them in France and other countries, before renovation work began.

After changes worth 167 million euros, the zoo now boasts of being the only one in the world to have been “completely rebuilt”.

Organized into five different biozones, the visit’s major attractions include 40 Humboldt penguins from the southern tip of the Americas, a magnificent lion named Nero and a large family of curious giraffes from West Africa.

In all, the modernised park counts over 1,000 animals belonging to 179 species.

However, not all of them made the big rendezvous on Saturday. The absence of three pumas from Chile and of two white rhinos disappointed some of their fans.

The event also drew around 20 animal rights activists, who staged a peaceful protest outside the main entrance against caging animals.

Paris’ revamped zoo also carries a new entrance fee that locals are decrying as wildly steep: €22 for adults and €14 for children over three years old.

 

Date created : 2014-04-12

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