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The zoo was founded in 1937 as a zoo for native species with fal­low deer and wild boar as well as other Cen­tral Euro­pean ani­mal species. The gates were opened to the pub­lic for the first time on 25 July 1937. Although ini­tially focussing on native fauna, the zoo housed rhe­sus macaques and crab-​eating macaques right from the start. It was not until 1965 that the zoo changed its con­cept and focussed more on exotic non-​European ani­mal species.

Since 1973, under its sci­en­tific direc­tor Wolf­gang Salz­ert, the zoo gained national pres­tige due to many new enclo­sures and its com­mit­ment to species and nature con­ser­va­tion. In 1974, the first walk-​through pri­mate exhibit in Ger­many was opened at Rheine Zoo, the Mon­key For­est (‘Affen­wald’) with Bar­bary macaques. Descen­dants of these first inhab­i­tants are part of today’s colony of Bar­bary macaques.

The gelada baboon (Thero­p­ithe­cus gelada) was intro­duced in the Zoo’s ani­mal col­lec­tion in 1980, and the first infant was born in 1982. Since in 1989 Rheine Zoo pro­posed the estab­lish­ment of an Euro­pean Endan­gered species Pro­gramme (EEP) for the gelada baboon and in 1990 an inter­na­tional stud­book was endorsed, both are coor­di­nated by Rheine Zoo. Cur­rently, the Zoo has the largest group of this unique pri­mate species of any zoo world­wide, which is inter alia a result of a good breed­ing track record.

Over the years many of the changes and improve­ments sup­ported the over­all con­cept of cre­at­ing close up meet­ings between humans and ani­mals, thus between vis­i­tors and inhab­i­tants. A few of the more recent devel­op­ments are the new seal and pen­guin facil­i­ties of 2004, the hill for sloth bear and golden jackal of 2009, the exten­sion of the tiger exhibits and the stork aviary of 2010, and the Lemur For­est of 2016.

A full his­tor­i­cal nar­ra­tive to be added

(Source: Wikipedia; Vom ‘Heimat­ter­garten’ zum mod­er­nen Zoo – 75 Jahre Natur­Zoo Rheine, Paul Nien­haus, 2012)

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

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


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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