Penguin enclosure; beautiful facilities with huge pond which you can cross by bridge; lot of birds were brooding at time of visit; special attraction is the parade of the penguins, when they walk outside the enclosure, once a day.
Otter enclosure; beautiful copy of the natural environment with a little stream and pond which the little playful rascals enjoy very much.
Chimpanzee enclosure (Budongo trail); Indoors opened a few weeks before visit; Chimps already accustomed to their new environment (according keeper); three separate but interconnected enclosures with great climbing facilities; one of them to be enjoyed from a real theatre setting; a must see; Outside to be finished in a few weeks time.
African wild dog enclosure; enclosure that allows the animals to wander about and get away from the public; although the public already can walk the long wooden trail (few feet above the ground) along the enclosure more or less unobserved by the animals.
Enormous paddocks uphill for the ungulates.
Saturday 25th January 2014 marked a century since the arrival of penguins at Edinburgh Zoo — the first ever penguins to be seen in Europe. Penguins have since become iconic for the Zoo, with a king penguin chick being the first to hatch in the Northern Hemisphere, and the species was incorporated into the Zoo’s logo.
In 1914, six months after its grand opening, Edinburgh Zoo accepted a donation of six penguins from Salvesen Co. The four king penguins, one gentoo and one macaroni had made the momentous journey from South Georgia all the way to Leith Docks aboard the Salvesen ship ‘Coronda’. They were the first of many donations from Salvesen and would become the Zoo’s most iconic species.
Only five years later, Edinburgh Zoo successfully hatched a king penguin chick, the first ever penguin to be successfully bred in the Northern Hemisphere. This hatching was the first of many landmark successes for the Zoo, establishing the global reputation and animal husbandry expertise of Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). In 1935, the first macaroni chick in an animal collection hatched at the Zoo, followed two years later by the first gentoo chick.
In 1951 the Zoo started the — now world famous — daily penguin parade, which is copied by a few other zoos since then. The parade is an opportunity for people to get up close to penguins outside of the Southern Hemisphere. The world may have changed a lot over the past century, but penguins have always remained a firm favourite with Edinburg Zoo visitors.
Their knowledge and expertise led to Edinburgh Zoo establishing the European breeding studbook for king and gentoo penguins in 1998 — both of which they still hold coordination.
Another, nevertheless rather peculiar, achievement is Sir Nils Olav, the king penguin, who is world-renowned for being the highest-ranking penguin in the world. As the mascot for the Norwegian Guard, he has risen through the ranks from Lance Corporal all the way to Colonel-in-Chief. In 2008, he received a knighthood which was approved by the King of Norway and the Norwegian Guard visits him regularly.
(Source: RZSS press release, 17.01.2014)
The Socorro dove
Almost extinct Socorro dove hatches at Edinburgh Zoo
An incredibly rare dove that has been extinct in the wild since the early 1970’s has hatched at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. With less than 100 pure bred individuals of this species left in the world, a Socorro dove chick hatched on the 9th July before taking flight and fledging 14 days later.
Conservation charity the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), as part of the overarching European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), has successfully bred this incredibly rare species since 2005 and raised an astounding 12 chicks to date.
Not only that, but in 2008 RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and Paignton Zoo have collectively sent 12 Socorro doves to Albuquerque Zoo in the USA to form a satellite breeding group amongst North American collections, as part of a re-introduction programme. Subsequently, several birds were transferred from there to Africam Safari in Pueblo, Mexico in 2013 and the following year saw the first Socorro dove chicks hatched in Mexico for almost 40 years. The hope is that these birds will provide offspring to be reintroduced to their native habitat on the island of Socorro, Mexico, in the near future.
Colin Oulton, Bird Team Leader for RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
“Male Socorro doves are notoriously aggressive in their pursuits of mates, which is one of the reasons breeding this species can be difficult,” added Oulton. “It is incredibly sad to think that this species is now extinct in the wild and only around 100 exist in captivity. The hatching of this bird highlights the significant role zoos play in conserving species and helping to increase population numbers of rare animals. Due to coordinated breeding programmes with zoos across the world, this species has been saved and we are able to increase the numbers and hopefully reintroduce them back into their native habitat.”
The young bird, which has yet to be sexed, is currently off-show at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo with its parents. However an adult Socorro dove can be spotted in the Brilliant Birds Enclosure at the Zoo.
(Source: RZSS press release, 03.08.2015)
Socorro dove returns to Mexico for first time in over 40 years
For the first time in four decades, the critically endangered Socorro Dove has returned to its native country of Mexico, thanks to a captive breeding program involving 33 organisations in 12 countries.
The Socorro Dove was endemic to Socorro Island on the Revillagigedo Archipelago, approximately 400 miles southwest of the west Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta. The last record of the species in its natural habitat dates from 1972. Introduced mammals likely drove it to extinction through predation and habitat destruction.
Mexico’s role in the conservation breeding program was ramped up earlier this year when six Socorro Doves were moved from facilities at New Mexico’s Albuquerque BioPark to Africam Safari, located near Mexico City. Today, facilities in Europe, the United States, and now Mexico breed Socorro Doves in their aviaries as part of the globally managed breeding program. Altogether, there are approximately 70 doves in Europe, 37 in the U.S., and six in Mexico.
(Source: American Bird Conservancy press release, 08.10.2013)
Re-introduction of the Socorro dove
Originally, it was foreseen that doves for reintroduction were going to travel directly from Europe to Mexico. However, avian influenza outbreaks throughout Europe in 2005 prompted the Mexican government to ban the importation of any birds from Europe. Therefore, to overcome this constraint and maintain the safety of avian populations, captive breeding of European stock will be first brought into the United States and then transferred to Mexico prior to any introduction to Socorro Island.
(Source: Re-Introduction of the Socorro dove, Socorro Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico [Martínez-Gómez et al, draft], Academia.edu)
Directions to Edinburgh Zoo
Due to the residential nature of Edinburgh Zoo’s location it is recommended to take the bus or bicycle to go there. The Zoo can be easily accessed via public transport with high frequency bus services from Edinburgh city centre.
134 Corstorphine Road
There are two trains stations in the centre of Edinburgh; Edinburgh Waverley Station and Edinburgh Haymarket Station. Train timetables and ticket information are available here.
From Waverley and Haymarket stations, take the buses listed below (from Edinburgh city centre) to Edinburgh Zoo.
Alternatively, if you are coming from further a field why not take the First Transpennine Express
Edinburgh Zoo can be easily accessed via public transport with high frequency bus services from Edinburgh city centre. There are two bus stops outside the front entrance. Lothian Buses 12, 26 and, 31 all stop outside and can be picked up near both Haymarket and Waverly Station or in the city centre. The 100 Airlink Service also stops regularly outside our front entrance and operates between Edinburgh Airport and the City Centre.
The following Lothian Buses pass the Zoo every few minutes:
Bus #12: Seafield — Leith — Princes Street –Haymarket — Zoo — Gyle Centre
Bus #26 : Seton Sands/Tranent — Portobello — City Centre — Zoo — Clerwood
Bus #31 : Bonnyrigg — City Centre — Zoo — East Craigs
All Lothian Buses are now low-floor and fully accessible for wheelchairs and foldable buggies. More information here.
900 Citylink — Glasgow — Edinburgh
909 Citylink — Stirling — Edinburgh
904 Citylink — East Kilbride — Edinburgh
For the latest Citylink timetables and fares check here.
The Zoo is very close to Carrick Knowe cycle route (access from Downie Grove), which in turn connects by minor roads and other cycle routes to most of the city. To work out your best route, see the Spokes Edinburgh Cycle Map (available at most book and bike shops, or online here). An online cycle route planner is also available here.
Cycle parking (Sheffield racks) is available on the pavement immediately outside the zoo. There is currently no visitor bike parking on the site, but this is something they are looking into.
Please note that car parking spaces are limited and there is a £4.00 car park admission cost. During the day, some parking can also be found within the vicinity of the Zoo but please note this space is also limited due to the residential nature of the Zoo’s location.
Download the Zoo map & guide here.