Zoo Tales: 25 Surprising Facts About Animals in Captivity

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1Froso Zoo

Froso Zoo

In 1993, when a military jet flew over a Sweden's Froso Zoo, animals ate 23 of their own babies as a protective response.


2. Charles Darwin collected a Galápagos tortoise (Harriet) during his 1835 visit to the Galápagos Islands as part of his round-the-world survey expedition. It lived 175 years and died of heart failure at the Australia Zoo in 2006.


3. In 2015, a group of penguins escaped from an enclosure at a Denmark zoo. Unfortunately for them, they left footprints which led to their recapture.


4. A German Shepherd guard dog named Gabi in a Belgrade Zoo once fought and defeated an escaped jaguar and in doing so saved the life of a zoo employee.


5. Mike Tyson offered a zoo attendant $10,000 to open the cage of a bullying gorilla so he could "smash that silverback's snotbox." His offer was declined.


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6Rocko's Modern Life

Rocko's Modern Life

The creator of Rocko's Modern Life came up with the idea for his show when he came across a wallaby at a zoo that "seemed too oblivious of the chaos around him."


7. A chimp named Santino in a Swedish Furuvik zoo collected round disks of concrete, stockpiled them, and saved them until he could throw them at visitors. "Nothing like it has as yet been reported from the wild, nor from any captive chimpanzees".


8. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in male Western lowland gorillas in North American Zoos. To combat this Cleveland Metropark Zoo doubled the gorilla's leafy green intake which lead to a 65 pound weight loss in the gorillas.


9. The animal handlers at the Oregon Zoo took Chendra, an Asian elephant, around to meet some other animals. The sea lions were her favorite.


10. All pandas are owned by China. They rent them out to zoos for $1 million per year each for a minimum of 10 years.


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11Operation Crossroads

Operation Crossroads

During 1946 nuclear weapon tests in the Pacific, animals were put on ships in the blast area. Goat #119, behind plate armor inside a gun turret, died from the radiation in 4 days. Goat #53, out on the deck, died in 2 days. Pig #311 was found swimming around and was brought back to the zoo in Washington.


12. In 2009, two zebras died of hunger in Marah Land Zoo in Palestine and were replaced with donkeys painted with black and white stripes.


13. During World War 2, trained elephants at a zoo in Tokyo were starved to death. Throughout the ordeal, they repeatedly performed their tricks in fruitless attempts to get fed.


14. Steve Irwin was buried at his beloved Australia Zoo.


15. In 1996, a three-year-old boy fell into the gorilla exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo. The child was rescued by a mother gorilla (Binti Jua) who cradled him until the zookeepers arrived.


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16Lambay Island

Lambay Island

There is an island (Lambay Island) off the coast of Dublin, Ireland that has a population of wallabies. They are the descendants of animals that Dublin Zoo could no longer care for due to overcrowding.


17. During World War 2, the very first bomb dropped on Berlin by the Allies killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.


18. There is only one pig (Khanzir) in all of Afghanistan. His name is Khanzir, which is Arabic for pig, and he lives in the Kabul Zoo.


19. Snowflake is the only known albino gorilla. He was a resident of Barcelona zoo.


20. At the Edinburgh Zoo, there is a voluntary daily penguin parade, which sometimes gets canceled if the penguins do not wish to go out that day.


21Elizabeth Derkosh

Elizabeth Derkosh

After dropping her 2-year-old son into a pit of African wild dogs at the Pittsburgh Zoo, Elizabeth Derkosh attempted to sue the zoo for negligence (and other things).


22. The 1889 World's Fair in Paris, famous for the construction and unveiling of the Eiffel Tower, had a "Negro Zoo" with 400 black people in cages as one of the attractions.


23. Many white tigers in zoos are white because of forced repetitive inbreeding and they are almost always born with genetic defects.


24. There is a disorder called "Zoochosis" that most animals get from being confined in Zoos, such as repeated pacing, rocking, vomiting and even self mutilation. These behaviors are not seen in the wild and are displayed only because of their captivity.


25. An orangutan named Sibu at a zoo in Apeldoorn, Netherlands rejected all attempts made for him to mate with female orangutans. He only exhibited sexual interest in his human female caretakers with a particular penchant for the blonde ones with tattoos.

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