Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ueno Zoo

The Ueno Zoo (恩賜上野動物園, Onshi Ueno Dōbutsuen?) is a zoo, managed by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and located in Taito, Tokyo, Japan. It is Japan's oldest and most famous zoo. It was opened on March 20, 1882. Its location, a five-minute walk from the Park Exit of Ueno Station, makes access from Tokyo's public-transportation network convenient. The Ueno Zoo Monorail, the first monorail in the country, connects the eastern and western parts of the grounds.

Ueno Zoo's saddest time came during World War II. The Japanese Army ordered that all "wild and dangerous animals" at the zoo be killed, claiming that bombs could hit the zoo and escaping wild animals would wreak havoc in the streets of Tokyo. Requests by the staff at the zoo for a reprieve, or to evacuate the animals elsewhere, were refused. Ueno Zoo's three elephants at the time, John, Tonky, and Wanly (or Wang Lee) were too clever to eat the poisoned food, and thus were slowly starved to death. The fate of Ueno's animals, particularly the elephants, has often been used in Japan as an example of the evils of war.

The Sumatran tiger, and western lowland gorilla head the list of the zoo's population of 422 species (as of March, 2003). Ueno has most variety of species on exhibition than any other zoo in Japan.

Within the limits in which it operates, the Ueno Zoo attempts to provide the animals an environment similar to the natural habitat. In recent years, the dreary, old-fashioned cages of the past have been replaced with modern habitats, such as the "Gorilla Woods".

Redistribution of the animals among Tokyo's other zoos (including Tama Zoo and Inokashira Nature Park) left Ueno without a lion. However, in response to public demand, Ueno borrowed a female from the Yokohama Municipal Zoo.

The Ueno Zoo is located within Ueno Park, a large urban park that is home to several museums, a small amusement park, and other attractions.

(source: Wikipedia)

No comments: