Select a Zoo



Two old school­mates, Piet Knoester and Wim Ter­toolen, decided after WWI to estab­lish a zoo in Amers­foort. In 1948 they opened the doors for the first time. At that time the zoo was called Zoo Birk­hoven, but this was even­tu­ally changed in Amers­foort Zoo. The two entre­peneurs had dif­fer­ent inter­ests. Piet knew how to han­dle ani­mals and Wim how to han­dle peo­ple, the vis­i­tors. Together, includ­ing Wim’s wife, they worked day and night to make the zoo a suc­cess. And a suc­cess it was. After 5,000 vis­i­tors in the first year, the zoo was vis­ited by 40,000 peo­ple the next year. This grad­u­ally increased to a vast 700,000 vis­i­tors per year.

They started with just a small ani­mal col­lec­tion, an Asian black bear, a bac­trian camel, a drill and s ome farm ani­mals. But already in 1954 the first big cats arrived, two lions and a leop­ard. In 1956 ele­phants from Thai­land. And at that time about 20 species of pri­mates (over 80 ani­mals) were exhib­ited in the zoo.

Amers­foort Zoo is a fam­ily run busi­ness. In 1964, Wim’s daugh­ter came in charge together with her hus­band Henk Vis. Both their sons are involved too, one as direc­tor and the other as advi­sor. Though an exec­u­tive direc­tor has been appointed, Mr. Kuipers, the fam­ily Vis still has its influ­ence in the park.

(Source: web­site Amers­foort Zoo)

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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