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History of Děčín Zoo

administrator | 27.01.2014

The zoo was opened in spring 1949, although it had been founded a year before. It came about through an initiative by a group of animal enthusiasts that gathered around Mr. Ludvík Grác, a businessperson and zoological specialist based in Podmokly, which is part of the city located beyond the zoo. An amazing site was chosen for the zoo, one amidst the beautiful setting of a forested suburban park on a hill called Pastýřská stěna. At one time a theatrical group based in Podmokly used to perform in the woodland there, in addition to which the location featured a youth hostel built in 1936 by the Mountain Association for Czech Switzerland. Later on, the building became the seat of the zoo office and a refuge for several warmth-loving species.

The act of founding the zoo was preceded by submitting a proposal to the town's administration. Once accepted, Děčín’s citizens enthusiastically got on with arranging it. They had to carry out this work in their free time, in addition to which they often lacked financial resources and experience. When Děčín Zoo was under development, only four zoological parks existed in Czechoslovakia, just two of which were set up before WWII.

The first buildings were aviaries placed side by side, their fronts featuring an iron net, designed for small exotic birds. Across these, there were similar structures for birds of prey. A stable for horses was also constructed, followed by more cages, fences and a pond for waterfowl, as the number of animals rose. The zoo office, which was the only heated building in the grounds, became the premises for a new aquarium and terrarium exhibit, as well as for monkeys. Although development in the early years of the zoo was quite rapid, the lack of buildings and quarters for wintering animals was always an issue. As a result, any new animals that the zoo received were often only placed in temporary facilities, which had an impact on mortality and limited breeding success.

The zoo was originally assigned an area of ​​about 8 hectares, although only 2 hectares was used initially. In its early years, the zoo kept around 50 species of animals, mostly avifauna and small mammals, mainly native species. Gradually, however, species representation was expanded. Noteworthy examples from the early history of the zoo include species like Malayan sun bears, the only such animals in the country at the time, as well as the rhesus macaque, baboons, brown bears, Carpathian wolves who reproduced on a periodical basis, the Taiwanese sika deer from direct import, European mouflons, fallow deer, the griffon vulture, pheasants, storks, herons, and many more.        

Zoo directors

  • 1949 - 1966        Ludvík Grác
  • 1966 - 1973        Ing. Jan Kočí
  • 1973 - 1975        Jiří Třebenský
  • 1975 - 1977        Jiří Niedl
  • 1977 - 1992        Jiří Třebenský
  • 1992 - 2007        Ing. Lubomír Moudrý
  • 2007 - recently    Kateřina Majerová  

Pionering achievements of Děčín Zoo…
…in breeding animals (nationwide)

  •  1962 Mandrill, European roe deer
  •  1963 Taiwanese sika deer
  •  1965 Common crane
  •  1970 Red-capped monkey, South-African oryx
  •  1972 Axolotl
  •  1973 Chamois
  •  1977 Alpine ibex
  •  1987 Capybara
  •  1993 Grizzly bear
  •  1995 Black-tailed prairie dog
  •  1997 Babirusa
  •  1999 Mountain anoa
  •  2000 Rocky Mountain goat
  •  2001 European mink
  •  2001 Pygmy mouse deer
  •  2002 Jaguarundi
  •  2004 Vicuna
  •  2004 Prince Alfred's spotted deer
  •  2007 Celebes crested macaque
  •  2008 Citron-crested cockatoo
  •  2012 Visayan warty pig