Located in Atlanta, Georgia area, Zoo Atlanta (also known as Atlanta Zoo) is a zoological park recognized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Raymond B. King now serves as president and chief executive officer of Zoo Atlanta.
In 1889, industrialist George V. Gress bought a failing traveling circus and donated its animals to the city of Atlanta, thereby establishing what is now known as Zoo Atlanta. Grant Park is still the current home of the zoo after being chosen by city officials to house the collection. There were formerly racoons, black bears, hyenas, a jaguar, a Mexican hog, a gazelle, camels, lionesses, and monkeys living at the zoo. In the 1930s, a private menagerie belonging to Asa G. Candler, Jr. was donated to the zoo.
Several of the zoo’s exhibits and infrastructure were out of date and in disrepair by the early 1970s, despite decades of refurbishment and development in the 1950s and 1960s. The Atlanta Zoological Society was established in 1970 by a group of concerned residents who wanted to increase support for the zoo.
After suffering a deterioration in the middle of the 1980s, the zoo was privatized in 1985 when the charity Atlanta Fulton-County Zoo Inc. was established. The zoo was renamed Zoo Atlanta at this time. Several highly publicized exhibit openings occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s, marking the beginning of a 20-year period of intensive restoration. The enormous pandas Lun Lun and Yang Yang first appeared at the Zoo Atlanta that same year (1999).
Animals such as African lions, elephants, plains zebras, giraffes, warthogs, ostriches, white rhinos, meerkats, bontebok, and kori bustards call the African Savanna at Zoo Atlanta home. The exhibit opened in 2019 as part of the Zoo’s Grand New View makeover.
Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience opened in 2015 as the first amphibian and reptile complex to get LEED Gold certification. More than 200 animals from over 70 different species now call this complex, which used to be the Zoo’s World of Reptiles, home. One species that has been able to successfully reproduce after nearly being hunted to extinction for food and traditional medicine is the Arakan forest turtle. In March 2012, the Zoo Atlanta was home to the hatching of a rare Guatemalan beaded lizard. In 2022, the Atlanta Zoo saw the first hatching of a bog turtle in 30 years.
The goal of the conservation efforts, scientific studies, educational programming, and fun visitor experiences at Zoo Atlanta are all directed toward protecting the animals and their natural environments. Their work brings attention to animal issues and motivates individuals to take conservation measures. As of 2018, Zoo Atlanta was recognized as a Top 10 Research Zoo for its significant contributions to scholarly investigation.