Record set at Prague Zoo

Annual awards were also given out at the world's fourth-best zoological garden

The Prague Zoo in Troja has reached 1.4 million visitors for the first time in one year. The lucky visitor came on Sunday, Dec. 4. The record previously set in 2014 actually fell earlier when visitor number 1,382,244 came Nov. 20.

The 1.4 millionth visitor was Luboš Holan, who came with his two granddaughters. Earlier in the year, one of the children “adopted” a spiny turtle at the zoo, and the family had come to wish the reptile a happy holiday season and new year. The zoo has a program that allows people to sponsor individual animals by paying an annual fee, and was honoring sponsors and adoptive parents of the animals.

The Velký, Malý a Divoký Richard awards were also given out to the most important sponsors. The crystal award has an imprint of a gorilla's paw, and is named after popular gorilla called Richard, who leads to gorilla family. The Velký Richard went Deputy Foreign Minister Miloslav Stašek for his support in obtaining rare animals. The Malý Richard went to the school Základní škola Emy Destinové for its adoption of animals and also its artwork. Divoký Richard went to Donors Forum for its crowdfunding campaign help.

“We appreciate everyone who somehow supports our zoo,” zoo director Miroslav Bobek said. “It is not just about money, whether it's sponsorship of meerkats or construction of a new pavilion, but also other kinds of assistance or ideas,” he added.

Prague Zoo has been rated as the fourth-best zoo in world by users of the website TripAdvisor. It has had a very good year in general. Two baby elephants have been a big draw. Other births included an aardvark, giraffe, a viper, a rare giant rat and a rare African openbill. The zoo saw a total of 1,191 juveniles in 223 species. The zoo also has been drawing crowds to see rare lions that it acquired at the end of 2015.

Prague Zoo opened in 1931. It currently covers 58 hectares with 50 hectares used for exhibits. It has over 4,700 animals from 681 species, including 144 species listed as threatened. The zoo has 12 pavilions and over 150 exhibits. It has been particularly active in the preservation of the Przewalski's horses, which are slowly being returned to the wild.

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