Los Angeles Zoo
By 1956, the city of Los Angeles had outgrown the small Griffith Park Zoo. The citizens passed a $6.6 million bond measure to help build a new one and a 113-acre site in Griffith Park was chosen as the new location. In 1964 a private, nonprofit organization was created to support the new facility. The zoo then began raising money and acquiring animals
When the Los Angeles Zoo opened in 1966 it was the 4th zoo to serve the city. The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) had already graduated a class of trained, volunteer docents and had produced several issues of a quarterly magazine called Zoo View. Some 80,000 Angelenos attended the November opening of the Los Angeles Zoo (also in attendance was an alligator named Methuselah, who is still a resident of the zoo today).
In 1967 the zoo acquired 3 endangered Arabian Oryx for $75,000. The Los Angeles Zoo cooperated with the only other American zoo to house Oryx, the Phoenix Zoo, to successfully bred the gazelle-like animals, which were facing extinction in the wild. Today descendants of those animals have been reintroduced to the wild in Israel, and other descendants of that original L.A. Zoo herd live on at the zoo.
The Los Angeles Zoo’s 1st Beastly Ball was held in 1970. This safari-themed dinner-dance is an important fundraiser for the Zoo, but only the visitors get to eat; in the interest of health and safety, the L.A. Zoo was the 1st major zoo in the United States to prohibit visitors from feeding the animals, and maintains the policy today.
The Los Angeles Zoo became an accredited member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) in 1972. Just 2 years later Dr. Warren D. Thomas became Zoo Director.
Thomas assembled one of the world ’s most respecteded animal collections during his 17-year tenure. The zoo acquired rare and endangered species, including the Sumatran Rhino, the Jentink’s and Zebra duikers, yellow-footed rock wallabies, giant elands, gerenuks, emperor tamarins, and bongos. The Andrew Norman Education Center, the ZooMobile, Wolf Woods and Monkey Island, were all built in the Thomas-era1970’s, as were new exhibits for gorillas, orangutans and flamingos,
In the 1980’s the Zoo became part of the new California Condor Recovery Program. In 1982 the Zoo built the extensive “condorminiums,” which are still considered among the finest and largest facilities in the condor recovery program. In1982 the Ahmanson Koala House was opened. Currently the Los Angeles Zoo the only zoo in the world to exhibit these nocturnal animals in a darkened setting.
Today Los Angeles Zoo is located in the heart of the 2nd-largest city in the United States. Nearly 11/2 million visitors visit the zoo every year to see one of the country’s biggest and best collection of animals.
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