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His­tory

In 1949, the ani­mal dealer Her­mann Ruhe, opened the Ruhr-​Zoo in Gelsenkirchen. The estab­lish­ment of the Ruhr-​Zoo was one of many in the period after World War II. As with the period after World War I, an accel­er­at­ing repair of war-​damaged facil­i­ties and improve­ment of zoos could be wit­nessed, together with the estab­lish­ments of new zoos. The money was good, which allowed for more space for the zoos. The design was kept sim­ple with con­crete and glazed tiles as pri­mary build­ing mate­ri­als.

Firma Ruhe, one of the lead­ing ani­mal trade com­pa­nies spe­cialised in ele­phants, was founded in 1880 by Lud­wig Ruhe (Louis Ruhe in Amer­ica) and closed down its busi­ness in 1993. Her­mann Ruhe was Ludwig’s grand­son. The Ruhe com­pany became the most impor­tant sup­plier of ani­mals to Ger­man zoos and cir­cuses after Hagen­beck built his zoo in Ham­burg. This action put Hagen­beck more or less out of busi­ness in Ger­many, because it was con­sid­ered a provo­ca­tion against the old-​type zoos in Ger­many.

In the 90s of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury it became clear that the Zoo did not meet the require­ments of mod­ern zoos any­more. A major deci­sion had to be made: clo­sure or con­ver­sion. The Ruhr-​Zoo man­age­ment decided to rebuild the out­dated old zoo and imple­ment a new vision, which should deliver the ani­mals a larger and more nat­u­ral­is­tic envi­ron­ment. It became the largest zoo­log­i­cal rebuild­ing project in Europe. While Ruhr-​Zoo con­tin­ued its oper­a­tions, major build­ing projects were devel­oped in the sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment. Because of the deci­sion to focus on three geo­graph­i­cal regions, Alaska, Africa and Asia, ani­mals like Syr­ian bears, maned wolves and tapirs moved to other zoos, thus mak­ing room for ani­mals from the three the­matic regions. The new zoo was named ‘Zoom Erleb­niswelt’. Alaska was the first region (6 hectares) to be opened to the pub­lic in 2005. And together with the African lion enclo­sure became the new zoo. The addi­tional parts of the African region (14 hectares) fol­lowed in 20 July 2006. In August 2006, the entire group of chim­panzees of the Zurich Zoo was moved to Gelsenkirchen. It is one of the few genetic pure groups of the West African sub­species. Recently, end of 2010, the Asian region was opened, although not yet fin­ished.

Sup­porter of the zoo is the Soci­ety for Energy and Econ­omy (Gesellschaft für Energie und Wirtschaft mbH), which is owned by the city of Gelsenkirchen.

(Sources: web­site Gelsenkirchen Zoo (ZOOM Erleb­niswelt); Wikipedia; Zoo and Aquar­ium His­tory by Ver­non N. Kisling Jr. (ed.), 2001; web­site ele​phant​.se)

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

Tweets

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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