In Hungarian: Fővárosi Állat- és Növénykert
Official name in English: Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden
Unser Name ist deutsch Offizielle: Zoologischer und Botanischer Garten der Haupstadt Budapest
Officiel français de notre nom: Jardin Zoologique et Botanique de la Capitale Budapest
Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden – as a professional conservation workhouse for survival of endangered creatures
The traditional tasks of zoos have changed a lot in the past decades. The original show-presentations were followed by descriptive zoological, ethological, physiological researches. Later the educational purposes appeared as well as the efforts for conservation of endangered species. This change of mind helped numerous animal species to survive the 20th century. The importance of governor, modern zoos are increasing in nature conservation efforts. Different captive breeding programs with nature conservation purposes, widespread educational work and recently habitat conservation efforts have been made in continental, moreover in global co-operations. During this process the leader some hundred zoos have became one of the biggest nature conservation networks and remarkable intellectual and financial sponsors of in-situ activities worldwide. Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is a part of this network.
The conservation roles must be determined with Hungarian and international specialists of nature conservation and zoo-horticulture. Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is able to achieve successful programs beside giving base, professional and institutional background for other organizations having no similar possibilities.
Our institute has declared collaboration with state and non-governmental organizations, such as National Parks, WWF Hungary, BirdLife Hungary and universities of science and research institutes.
The most important projects demonstrate and propagate nature conservation, like: seasonal exhibits, visitor information systems, posters, public awareness actions. The EAZA campaigns are traditional in these tasks and we are working on displaying the work of Hungarian National Parks as well.
We have to continue our nature conservation work with comprehensive public awareness to give bigger chance to the programs to find more sponsors and application resources. Our programs going on at this moment:
- EEP and ESB,
- Rescue of endangered animals,
- Habitat-connected programs,
- Conservation programs of invertebrate animals,
- Conservation programs of endangered plant species,
- Gene reserve of domesticated animals.
European breeding programs
As most of the European zoos, Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden takes part in the breeding programs of European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. Our zoo keeps 34 EEP and 30 ESB species at this moment. The most important issues of the past years are the successful breeding of Persian Leopard, Mandrill, Golden Lion Tamarin, White-fronted Marmoset, Red-bellied and red-handed Tamarin, Black-footed Penguin, Waldrapp, White-tailed Sea-eagle, Western Crowned Pigeon, Hercules Beetle and the first living White Rhino baby from artificial insemination.
The curator and veterinarian colleagues participate in Species Committees of Gorilla, Oran-utan, Old World Monkey, Ruffed Lemur, Red Panda, White Rhino, Black-footed Penguin and Budapest coordinates the Mandrill studbook since 1995.
Rescue of endangered animals
Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden has been traditionally working on rescue of sick, injured or orphaned birds. The Quarantine and Nature Conservation Rescue Center was opened in 1996, the „House of Life and Death" in 1997, the New Veterinary Clinic in 2005, all of them for increasing the quality of zoo-animal keeping and giving more possibility for the wild animals being repatriated.
The bird rescue takes place at Budapest Zoo in the Bird Rescue Center and in it's Quarantine Station at this moment. The Rescue Center – as a part of „House of Life and Death", called as Second Chance - located on 200 m2, Quarantine Station on 500 m2.
On both places qualified keepers work with birds and other animals. The smaller birds placed usually in the Zoo, the bigger ones as birds of prey and storks in Quarantine.
One part of these rescue work carries out animal protection tasks, but in case of rare and endangered species it has important nature conservation mission, too.
In the last ten years closely the half of 3.200 incoming birds, more than 1.500 specimens were successfully rehabilitated in 130 bird species. That means, almost 50% of incoming birds to Budapest Zoo become feasible for repatriation – thanks to the large number of young birds. The healthy birds can start their life in the wild usually very soon with an individual identification ring.
The process of reintroduction can take longer period in case of injured older birds. These birds have to spend longer time in captivity before the releasing of them. During this period they are at first in the Quarantine Station of Budapest Zoo – under permanent veterinarian control and later in Górés repatriation center of Hortobágy National Park.
One of our international rescue missions was in 2000, when our penguin head-keeper took part in South-Africa after the catastrophe of Treasure tanker.
Hungarian Meadow Viper is the most endangered species in Hungary. Budapest Zoo has arranged a PHVA in 2001 for the conservation of this small viper. Since this consultation we keep a closely related model species, Vipera renardi. Two of our colleagues take part in the work of Meadow Viper Conservation Council and we cover a big part of the needed insect food of the Viper Breeding Centre.
Budapest Zoo working as a breeding background and quarantine and rescue centre for venomous snakes as well.
Protection of Griffon Vulture and habitat researching at Cres Island is running since 2001, we send 2-4 volunteer and 1-2 specialist group to this area yearly. We donated different technical tools, like telescopes and binoculars, the volunteers have prepared useful establishment like lurking-place, quarantine aviary, drinking-trough, water gang and electric grid. The specialists help in the faunistical and botanical researches to increase the protection status of the island.
The cooperation with Foundation for Otters was established in 1998 and we contributed to the surveying of the whole Hungarian Otter population and gave place for conferences in this topic. To help for Proyecto Eremita we have hand reared Waldrapp nestlings and sent them to Jerez Zoo last year. The Przewalski Horse project is going with international cooperation, we have helped the Hungarian program at the beginning of it with transportation and veterinarian control and our head veterinarian took part in this work in Mongolia this year. The Beaver reintroduction project is managed by WWF Hungary Budapest Zoo helps with logistic background and veterinarian assistance. The Mole Rat program has been started just this year, as the species has different genetic populations, the research of Hungarian live-stock can result in new information. We work together with ELTE University both on field and captivity. The Danube program is another activity managed by WWF Hungary. The main goal of it is to avoid the subsequent river poisoning and protect the native species.
Conservation programs of invertebrate animals
Similarly to birds and bats lots of native and protected species, like Saga pedo, Inachis io, Oryctes nasicornis incoming to the zoo as rescue animals.
Not only these species', but also some other rare insects' life cycle is poorly known, therefore we plan to breed them for generations in the immediate future. Above all we have the one of the largest Dynastes hercules ESP population and according to our plan in the rebuilt Insect House we will exhibit the importance and diversity of insects.
Conservation programs of endangered plant species
We are participating in European Native Seed Conservation Network since 2004 and we have a collaboration agreement with Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew since 2006.
A part of a destroyed Hungarian protected plateau was successfully relocated to the rooftop of the Directorate and the permanent monitoring shows that the system is working.
Gene reserve of domesticated animals
From the beginning on 1930th Budapest Zoo played a part in save of Hungarian dog races.
The reserve of Hungarian "hucul" horse race is also run in collaboration with Aggtelek National Park since 1960th. Above all we exhibit different ancient domesticated animals came from the biggest Hungarian Gene Reserve for Domesticated Animals in the Hungarian Farm area.