Opened in 1928, Warsaw Zoo covers an area of 40 hectares and attracts some 500,000 visitors each year. Four elephants, a family of seals and a lion were added to the current collection of reptiles, birds and tigers. In total there are 12,700 animals here, across 500 species. Conditions have improved dramatically in recent years, though a visit here will do little to change any opinions you have on locking animals in cages. As with every major Warsaw landmark, the zoo has plenty of war stories. It was bombed at the beginning of the conflict and by 1945 all the animals had either been killed, deported to the Third Reich, eaten by locals or escaped into the wild. Zoo director, Jan Żabiński, became something of a hero; wounded during the 1944 Uprising, he helped save countless lives by sheltering Jewish orphans inside the grounds of the zoo. The zoo officially re-opened in 1949.
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