Originally founded in 1914, the Taipei Zoo is now the largest in Asia and one of Taiwan’s most visited tourist attractions. It is home to the first giant panda cub to be born in Taiwan, Yuan Zai, gifted as part of the People’s Republic of China’s “panda diplomacy”.
The Taipei Zoo is home to animals from Taiwan and across the globe, including Asia, Africa and Australia, together with a collection of domesticated animals within its Children’s Zoo that include Asian water buffalo, guinea pigs, alpacas and donkeys. Native animals to Taiwan are exhibited in the Formosan Animal Area and include sika deer, rock macaques, pangolins, black bears, clouded leopards and wild boar, while the Asian Tropical Rainforest habitat is home to macaques, siamang, orangutans, tapirs, leopards, Asian elephants and Bengal tigers. There’s also an Australian exhibit with kangaroos, emus and koalas, as well as big game wildlife within the African habitat and a dedicated Reptile and Amphibian House. More than 130 different species of birds are also showcased at the zoo, including flamingos, pelicans, eagles, hawks and penguins. Perhaps the zoo’s most famous residents, however, are its giant pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan that were gifted by the People’s Republic of China with their one offspring, Yuan Zai.
The Taipei Zoo is situated in Wenshan District of the city and serviced by its own metro station along the MRT Line 1. There’s also numerous bus services which connect the park with the downtown area, as well as a large parking lot on site. The most scenic way to get to the Taipei Zoo is along the Maokong Gondola which connects the park with the atmospheric tea growing region of Maokong.
The Taipei Zoo was founded in 1914 at a time when Taiwan was under Japanese rule and named Maruyama Zoo for the mountain on which it was established. It initially functioned as a private zoological garden by Mr. Oe, a Japanese citizen, before the Japanese government in Taiwan bought the property and opened it as a public park.