Explore the zoo in Novosibirsk – one of the largest zoos in Russia. It is the perfect place to learn about the importance of conservation and animal care, and an ideal day-plan with family and friends when you are staying in this charming Siberian city.
Plenty to see
Located in the outskirts of Novosibirsk, be prepared to spend a whole day sightseeing, as the zoo is massive. It is the only zoo in the world located in a pine forest, which makes the experience surrounded by a natural panorama, remarkable. The area comprises around 65 hectares featuring a total of 11,000 animals and 770 species. Among the species, you will find meerkats, kangaroos, otters, takins, leopards, cheetahs and an extensive collection of birds. Lookout for the polar bear family Kai and Gerda with their cub, named Shilka and for the mascot of the zoo, the snow leopard. This beautiful animal has only been preserved in this region of Siberia, so it will be a unique experience to see it. Though, the most famous one must be Kiara, the liger. Born in November 2012 from a male lion and a female tiger, it is one of a kind hybrid. You can't find another one anywhere else so far.
Helping endangered animals
As Novosibirsk is considered to be an important science hub in Russia, the zoo not only acts as a tourist attraction but as an important scientific institution including 350 animals in danger of extinction. It participates in 77 international captive breeding programs for endangered animals. And, it was the first in the world to breed rare species like the otter, marbled polecat, Siberian grouse, Siberian bighorn sheep, Putorana snow sheep, among others.
In 2000, a South African Zoo Director, John Spence, found the closest living resemblance to the cape lion he had been searching for years – a species from the Cape province that was thought to be extinct in the 1800s. The Cape lion and his family live in natural settings in the zoo of Novosibirsk and might have descended from a lion left behind by a circus. About 60 cubs have been born throughout the years and in 2000 two of them were shipped to South Africa in an attempt of restoring the breed in its original surroundings.
Good to know
In the summer, the zoo offers amusement rides for the children. There are plenty of cafes offering drinks and food menus seasonally. You can go horse riding or pony riding for the little ones. Elsewhere, take one of the offered tours. It will enhance your experience by adding a bit of storytelling to what you are witnessing. Find out about the animals, the history of the zoo and the full story about Kiara, the liger.