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Tiergarten Nürnberg - a landscape zoo

The Nuremberg zoo is one of the most beautiful zoological gardens within Europe. It is situated in a huge, splendored park whose charcteristic features vary between rugged rock formations consisting of redish sandstone, hundreds of years old trees and idyllic wetlands and ponds. There is an unique interaction between flora, fauna and landscape that offers real fun and recreation for adults and kids as well.

The Tiergarten Nürnberg was shaped by former sandstone quarries and mixed forests of the ancient Nuremberg Reichswald. Today, ibexes, lions, tigers and polar bears are inhabiting these magnificient rocky backdrops, where you still can see those shattered stone blocks formed a long time ago, when the old quarries were still at work. Vast open landscapes are saturated with meadows and burst out with flowers every spring. The location of spring snwoflakes - below a mighty old oak next to the predator´s greenfield - is even a little treasure of nature.

The park´s natural topography with trees and woods also determines the stock of forest animals, which are normally living in an indigenous habitat from Franconia as far away as French Guayana.

As a part of the 20,000 hectar big Reichswald Forest, the Tiergarten Nürnberg offers home to more than 150 different native bird species and over 50 domestic mammals. With its focus on animals from tropical rain forests, the Tiergarten Nürnberg is a global bridge to forests in other countries all over the world: There are Malayan tapirs, Visayan spotted deer and Indian rhinoceri from Asian woodlands. And from South American forests, there are Lowland tapirs, Squirrel monkeys, Macaws, Harpy eagles and also sea cows (manatees). In the summer of 2011, with our manatees´ house, the rainforest has come to Franconia. South African rain forests on the other hand are represented at the Tiergarten Nürnberg by gorillas and Yellow-backed duikers.

At the foundation of the zoo at the current location in 1939, big ponds which represent a natural habitat for many indigenous waterfowl and fish were designed. The topic reaches from local freshwater to the course of tropical rivers and coastal regions up to the open sea. Starting with an focus on this, an appropriate animal stock was selected to correspond with: a Southern Europe´s Dalmatian pelican, a South-American Chilean flamingo, polar bears and penguins, otters and dolphins. In the dolphin lagoon, sea lions and dolphins swim together in an outdoor water landscape.

As well at the Aquapark, where sea lions, polar bears and penguins move around and enjoy themselves in water basins, that are completely transparent from below.

A landscape you rather would´t expect in our Central European region is the desert. Nevertheless, at the Tiergarten Nürnberg deserts, half deserts and steppes spread out and are picked as a topic standing for highly sensitive habitats. Hardly any other zoo supplies of so many and of such selected species from the arid environments of the world: the Grevy´s zebra, the Somali wild ass, Asia´s goitered gazelle, guanacos, Asiatic lions and cheetahs.

Beautiful trees

The Tiergarten Nürnberg is also characterized by mighty oaks and Scots pines. They look particularly neat in the Dybowski´s deer´s enclosure. And the number of both tree species is roughly equal at the Reichswald Forest. But its mixed forests also consist of beeches, hornbeams, limes, birches and alders. Since the spectrum of the soil type on the zoo´s area ranges from dry sandy and gritstone ground to moist and hydromorphic soil, those different tree species are able to growing here. Its variety culminates in plain sandy dry locations where - apart from the Scots pine - nothing else grows. A fact, the Northern dune tiger beetle is extremely pleased about... Middle spotted woodpeckers- and Hermit beetles (this beetle is supposed to live exclusively on wooden detritus of old oaks) are the reason, the Tiergarten Nürnberg has been stipulated as a "European FFH Area". This means: It is an habitat for threatened inigenous animals which deserve special protection. Therefore, due diligence ist focussed on the intention of neither obstructing the Reichswald-Forest´s character, nor its flora by selectively implanting foreign plant species.

Yet, strange invadors are about to prevail themselves in the Reichswald Forest: The locust tree can be found all over the place. Also known as "false acacia" (Robinia pseudoacacia), it can be perfectly used as food the the zoo´s giraffes, as the giraffes´ main food are acacias, that do not exist in the northern hemisphere. As the locust tree bears resemblance to the false acacia, the zoo takes advantage of it and is planting robinias in and along those enclosures, where African hoofed animals are living. This can help making their habitat more characteristic.

Animals should generally be kept in enclosures matching to their original surrounding. Many habitats are marked by a certain vegetation. That´s why planting in and around compounds should provide a most natural ambience, highly similar to the one that can be found in the animals´ native countries. Sometimes, we had chosen native plants for growing, as long as they were able to survive in our climate. Just have a look at the enclosures of animals from the Asian steppe: Desert candles, Turkmeninan tulips, Russian olives, Eurasian smoke trees, Salt- and Peashrubs, Thatch grass and Tatarian maple are flourishing here too.