Zoo History

The Biblical Zoo was established as a small petting zoo on Rav Kook Street in the center of Jerusalem in 1939. The first animal was a gray monitor lizard brought to the zoo by British soldiers from the sands of the coastal plane. The zoo’s founder was Professor Aharon Shulov, one of the first zoologists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1941, the zoo was relocated to an area of four and a half dunams on Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem. In 1947, the zoo moved to Mount Scopus, to an area designated for it by the Hebrew University. During the course of the war for independence and afterward, it was decided to transfer the zoo to a new and large plot of land, 60 dunams, at Givat Komuna, next to the Romema neighborhood. After negotiations with the Jordanians and involvement by the United Nations, authorization was granted to bring the animals to the zoo that was built in Romema. Of the 200 animals that lived at Mount Scopus, only eighteen remained, including a lion, a leopard, a hyena, two vultures, two kangaroos, and two bears. The zoo in Romema was dedicated on September 17, 1950. In 1992, the old zoo was closed, and the process of transferring it to its new home began.

You can read more about the history of the Biblical Zoo and about its founder, Professor Aharon Shulov, in a book entitled, And the Wolf Lived with the Lamb, which Shulov wrote and the zoo published in 1981.

In 1992, the new zoo opened in the Manahat/Malha neighborhood in southwestern Jerusalem for a trial period, and it remains there to this very day.

Photo: Ze'ev Ackerman

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