Dear Friends!

foto-radoslaw-ratajszczakOn behalf of all our staff and the city government it is my greatest pleasure and privilege to invite you all to visit our zoo and city and attend the Zoo Design Conference. Our organizing partner is Monika Fiby of the ZooLex Zoo Design Organization.

In 2015 our zoo celebrated its 150th anniversary, thus being the oldest public institution in our city. Having been administered and developed by the Germans for 80 years and subsequently by the Poles for another 70 years, Wroclaw ZOO is in many ways unique. After World War I and II it was closed due to damage sustained through the direct bombing and economic crisis, just to be reopened and to further develop afterwards. Each time, a group of concerned, brave and hardworking people made it possible.

Until today you can see examples of the most important periods of developments of world zoos reflected in the animal buildings and enclosures of Wroclaw ZOO. Thus we feel that our zoo is especially predestined as a venue for such a conference. The oldest buildings date back to 1863 and 1865. As the ZOO grew in size over the past years, more and more modern animal exhibits were built, which culminated in the construction of the Africarium-Oceanarium complex, opened in the autumn of 2014.
Many years had passed since the last world-wide conference of this kind. A lot of new exciting facilities and brand new zoos had been built.
Animal welfare rose in importance, environmental and behavioural enrichment became a standard requirement and new challenges appeared. It is of great importance to take this into consideration while planning and building new facilities. Making a badly planned facility usable for animals requires additional funds and not always results in acceptable solutions. The architects’ work for zoos is not an easy one. Gerald Durrell of Jersey ZOO once said “the architect in the zoo is the most dangerous animal”. We sincerely hope that through this conference the spirit of cooperation between architects, landscape architects, zoologists, managers, marketing and education staff will prevail. With an input of all these groups during planning and construction stages, the results of work can be ground-breaking.

I do sincerely hope that you will like the recent changes and the special atmosphere accompanying the oldest parts of the ZOO as well as the old tree stands. Today you can see a collection of well over 1100 species of animals from invertebrates to apes, so a little treat for each and every specialist.

Our staff will be at your disposal to show you around our facilities and fulfil any special wishes you might have, like feeding manatees or making friends with elephant trunk snakes.

Wroclaw city has much to offer in terms of monuments of architecture. As vast majority of hotels are conveniently located within a walking distance from the Old Town, an evening visit to one of many restaurants, pubs and night clubs is highly recommended. You can find food from almost any part of the world, but the Polish one is undoubtedly the best. You can also try our famous vodka drinks.

I would like to wish all of you a safe trip to Wrocław, a good conference and a lot of positive impressions to take home with you.

Yours sincerely,

Radoslaw Ratajszczak
Chairman of the Board
ZOO Wrocław