Georgian kids excited by the first elephant of Tbilisi Zoo
29 January, 2016
Georgian kids excited by the first elephant of Tbilisi Zoo
This unique photo from the past depicts old Tbilisi Zoo back in the 1940-1950. On the photo provided by social media user named George Glonti kids can be seen looking at the first baby elephant named Malka. As it is known, the 3-year-old baby elephant was brought from Moscow in 1938 to Tbilisi Zoo together with chimpanzee, hippopotamus, Australian and American ostriches, parrots as well as Australian black swans, that was a quite big event at that time. Next two
photos feature Gabriel Hanson, the first director of Tbilisi Zoo from Sweden in 1934-1944 years together with the first inhabitants of the zoo baby elephant Malka and the chimpanzee. Founded in 1927, it is located in the Vere River valley in central Tbilisi. The Tbilisi Zoo was established by the decision of the Tbilisi City Council on 10 February 1927. It was designed by a group of Georgian and Russian specialists. The Zoo was further expanded in the 1930s.The Zoo was home to more than 1,000 animals and enjoyed more than 500,000 visitors per year.

Gabriel Hanson, the first director of Tbilisi Zoo, and Malka, the first elephant brought to Tbilisi

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Mr Hanson with chimpanzee
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In 1990s after the collapse of Soviet Union and gaining independence the country saw an economical decline and political unrest that directly affected the Tbilisi Zoo. Due to the civil war of 1991-1993 in Tbilisi no one cared for the poor animals that were left without food. As it was reported, more than half of the animals at the zoo had died of starvation or cold since 1991.

Unfortunately the peaceful life of the zoo’s inhabitants did not last for long. On June 14, 2015 the zoo was heavily affected by a disastrous flood that also claimed many peoples’ lives, left the animals dead or on the loose. After this tragic event, the zoo has been closed. At present it is planned to build a new zoo in the vicinity of Tbilisi Sea.

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