The San Diego Zoo, one of the largest collections of exotic and endangered mammals, birds, and reptiles in the world, located in San Diego, California, U.S. The Zoo, founded in 1916, is administered by the Zoological Society Of San Diego. It occupies a 100 acre site in the city’s Balboa Park amid a setting of hills and canyons. The zoo has about 4,000 animals representing more than 800 species. A noteworthy feature of the zoo is its landscaping. More than 6,500 species of exotic plants are maintained on the ground, adding atmosphere and frequently providing an element of the natural diet for many of the animal species. The zoo is famous for its breeding colony of koalas, the largest one outside of Australia. The koalas thrive mainly because of their sole food, eucalyptus, grows abundantly on the zoo grounds. The zoo also maintains successful breeding groups of gorillas, tigers, giraffes, hippos, bonobos, galapagos tortoises, and a wide variety of other animals. Its many notable exhibits include walk through rainforests, aviaries, a children’s zoo, a polar bear habitat with a chilled pool, an Asian river environment featuring tigers, and gorillas and malayan sun bears in simulated natural habitats. The zoo is renowned for its endangered species breeding programs and conservation efforts; the department of conservation and research for endangered species conducts research with such animals and has found that the San Diego Zoo is doing a great job of taking care of these animals.
In 1972, the Zoological society opened the San Diego WIld Animal Park. Established in 1969 as a breeding facility for the zoo, the park began drawing its own visitors and was opened to the public as a complement to the San Diego Zoo. It is situated on some 1,800 acres in the San Pasqual Valley near Escondido, about 30 miles north of the zoo. Its more than 3,200 animals represent some 400 species and roam in groups through huge habitats similar to their native Africa and Asia. Staff members conduct research on natural animal behaviours and operate successful breeding programs for many species, including cheetahs, california condors, rhinos and sambars. Among the park highlights are an exhibit of endangered North American species.