The zoo has suffered from chronic underfunding in the past and what was once considered one of the best zoos in Europe, found itself having to sell off animals and relay on donations and the goodwill of volunteers just to keep going. The zoo has made a recovery in recent years and plans are afoot to modernise the zoo throughout with a proven zoo architect, Marek Nakoneczny being brought in from neighbouring Poland to help. The plan is to make the most efficient use of resources and land available to provide all the animals with the right habitat and care. The result of this and the limit on resources means that the elephant, a pitiful sight at the moment in the kind of enclosure you would imagine had been outlawed, is likely to be the last in Kaliningrad Zoo.
Elsewhere there are plenty of signs that things are improving with a modern monkey house and seal enclosure. There are also plenty of reminders of the Königsberg Zoo that opened here in 1896 and which by the beginning of WWI had gathered over 2,000 specimens spread over its 16 hectares. This marked the high watermark for the zoo however and things were to get dramatically worst in 1945. The assault on Königsberg cost the zoo dearly and come the end of the conflict there were just four animals left alive – a badger, a donkey, a deer and a hippopotamus. The hippo was badly wounded after being hit by stray bullets but was nursed back to health, while the badger enclosure is the first you will see as you enter the zoo. Visitors can see a monument to these four now legendary creatures on a grass mound in the centre of the zoo. The zoo’s collection was rebuilt with animals donated from around the world but once again the zoo faces an uncertain future. The zoo is still popular with school groups and families and is in a beautiful leafy setting close to the centre – just give the elephant enclosure a miss.
Open 09:00 - 20:00.