Ueno Zoo

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Japan's Oldest Zoo - Ueno Zoo

Japan's Oldest Zoo - Ueno Zoo

Ueno Zoo at Ueno Park is Japan's oldest zoo. The zoo houses more than 460 species and 2500 animals in environments similar to their natural habitats. Ueno displays the most species of all zoos in Japan. Some animals at Ueno Zoo include okapis, puffins, giraffes, crocodiles, Japanese macaques, and many other species.

Ueno Zoo recently made headlines in 2008 when their beloved Giant panda Ling Ling passed away. It had been the first time since 1972 that the zoo was without a Giant panda. Ueno Zoo brought in two pandas from the Chinese Wolong Nature Reserve in 2011 and named then Ri Ri and Shin Shin, names based on public poll. Ri Ri was meant to symbolize her playfulness and Shin Shin her purity and innocence.

Ueno Zoo is divided into two sections, the east area and west area separated by animal species and kinds. The two sections are connected by the Ueno Zoo Monorail, Japan's first monorail. The west area has a petting zoo which is popular with young children. For older children the zoo's "Gorilla Woods" and "Tiger Forest" are popular areas where they can get nose-to-nose with the animals.

Ueno Zoo has a unique Japanese touch other zoos don't normally have: a five-storied pagoda and a tea ceremony house. The pagoda was built in 1631 and reconstructed after deconstructed by fire. Kan'eiji Temple which owned the pagoda gave the pagoda to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government which assigned the pagoda's management to Ueno Zoo.


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