Shanghai Zoological Park (simplified Chinese: 上海动物园; traditional Chinese: 上海動物園; pinyin: Shànghǎi Dòngwùyuán), or commonly Shanghai Zoo in short, is the main zoological garden in Shanghai. It is located near the township of Hongqiao (formerly Hung-Jao) and is administratively in Changning District. Shanghai Zoo was formerly known as " Xijiao Park" (or "Western Suburbs Park") (simplified Chinese: 西郊公园; traditional Chinese: 西郊公園; pinyin: Xījiāo Gōngyuán), which is still a common name used locally for the zoo.
The site of what is presently the Shanghai Zoo was first developed as livery stables in 1890. In 1914, the livery stables were purchased by a consortium of merchants, and in 1916 it was converted into the Hung-Jao Golf Club, one of Shanghai's largest golf clubs. Like many other foreign-owned clubs, its property was in 1953 resumed by the new government, after the Chinese Communist Party took over Shanghai in 1949. In 1954, the former golf course was opened to the public 1954 as "Xijiao Park". In 1959, a series of animal enclosures were built and the park was expanded. In 1980, the park was renamed "Shanghai Zoological Park".
After half a century of development, the Shanghai Zoo has become one of the best ecological gardens in Shanghai. The zoo houses and exhibits more than 6,000 animals, among which are 600 Chinese animals that include giant pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, lions, South China tigers, hoopoe, black bulbuls, great hornbills and Bactrian camels. Animals from other parts of the world include chimpanzees, giraffes, zebras, kangaroos, gorillas, ring tailed lemurs, common marmosets, spider monkeys, scimitar-horned oryx, african wild dogs, olive baboons, mandrills, Canadian lynxes and maned wolves. The zoo is constantly developing and improving the animal enclosures in order to provide better environments for the animals and a pleasurable experience for visitors.
The original golf course design has been basically preserved. There are a total of 100,000 trees with nearly 600 species planted in the zoo. The green areas and lawns cover an area of 100,000 square meters. The zoo endeavours to create an ecologically-friendly environment for the animals - the 'Swan Lake' with its natural reed clumps and trees providing shade for pelicans, geese, black swans, night herons and other birds, is a perfect example of this.
The Shanghai Zoo provides areas for amusement and leisure, opportunities for visitors to increase their knowledge of the various animals and combines this with scientific and technical research to help people better understand and protect animals. Since the zoo was established it has been host to over 150,000,000 visitors.
The aim of the Shanghai Zoo is to have visitors leave with a better understanding of and appreciation for the animals and their environment.