The Buenos Aires Zoo expands 18 hectares in the neighbourhood of Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Zoo contains 89 species of mammals, 49 species of reptiles and 175 species of birds, with a total of over 2,500 different animal species. The institution's goals are to conserved the species as well as producing research and educating the public.
President Domingo Sarmiento was responsible for the project of the Parque Tres de Febrero, in the lands previously owned by Juan Manuel de Rosas. The project was presented in 1874, and the park was inaugurated on November 11, 1875, which included a small section dedicated for animals. This area was was under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government until 1888 when it was transferred to the City of Buenos Aires. In that year, City Major Antonio Crespo, created the Buenos Aires Zoo, which was separated from the rest of the park.
Its first director was Eduardo Holmberg, who was hired in 1888 and stayed in that position for 15 years. He was the major designer of the area. Holmberg was in charge of designate the locations of the different parks, lakes and avenues, and began the exhibition of the 650 animals that the Zoo had at that time. In that period Zoos around the world did not have the same function as they do today; their main goal was recreational, and had small animal space and a large recreational area for the visitors.
Clementi Onelli was the Zoo director from 1904 to 1924, during which the promoted the Zoo Gardens. Onelli added a pedagogical aspect to the Zoo by implementing pony, elephant and camel rides, increasing the amount of visitors (from 1,500 to 15,000) during his first year as director.
Halfway through the 20th century, the Zoo started to decay, which brought the idea of privatization. In 1989 showbusiness-man Gerardo Sofovich was designated coordinator of the Zoo by President Carlos Menem. In 1991, the concession of the Zoo was transferred to a private company, of which Sofovich was a shareholder.
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