A year packed with events for Madrid Zoo’s 50th anniversary

2022 was an excellent year for Madrid Zoo, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in style with a full schedule of events.

The year began with the makeover of the Casa de Campo metro station in Madrid, highlighting the Zoo’s conservation work through two large murals of 23 animals created by graphic artist Pedro Jarque. This project, in collaboration with the Madrid metro service and the Community of Madrid, aimed to raise public awareness of the need to protect the environment and highlighted some of the conservation projects implemented by Madrid Zoo over the year. Throughout its history, Madrid Zoo has shown its commitment by joining forces with other zoos in the #ParquesReunidos group and those of the #FundaciónParquesReunidos (Parques Reunidos Foundation) to contribute to conservation projects for vulnerable species such as the gray marmoset, Komodo dragon, white rhinoceros, koala, red panda, Asian elephant, orangutan, giraffe, binturong, and gorilla.

A phenomenal start

In March, the official opening ceremony for the 50th anniversary of Madrid Zoo was presided over by Her Majesty Queen Sofia, and also counted with the presence of the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, the President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and the Mayor of Madrid City Council, José Luis Martínez Almeida, accompanied by the CEO of Parques Reunidos, Pascal Ferracci, and the Director of the zoo, Enrique Pérez, as well as various public and private institutions that collaborate in the field of research, conservation and education. During the event, 6-month-old Jiu Jiu and You You, Madrid Zoo’s panda twins, were shown playing in the grass with their mother, Hua Zui Ba.

May was the month dedicated to recognizing the zoo’s work over the past five decades. On the Community of Madrid Day, the Regional President, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, awarded the Order of Dos de Mayo (Second of May) to Madrid Zoo with the Encomienda de Número (Order of Merit) to commemorate its 50th anniversary. This award also recognized the zoo as a place of leisure and learning for several generations of Madrid residents and visitors.

Madrid Zoo and Brinzal, a nocturnal birds of prey recovery center in Spain, released a Eurasian Eagle Owl chick into the mountains of Madrid as part of their collaboration to increase the numbers of native nocturnal birds of prey in the region.

A further two eagle owl chicks were released in October. Reuters’ news story about the twin owls received ample coverage from American and European media.

On June 23, coinciding with the zoo’s official birthday, the photography exhibition “50 years of conservation” was inaugurated in collaboration with the EFE news agency. The event showcased the most important milestones in the evolution of Madrid Zoo as a conservation center in 45 images from 1972 to the present day. The exhibition, which takes us on a journey through European fauna, was attended by journalists, celebrities, and representatives of the Madrid City Council.

A hot summer full of activities

To continue celebrating its 50th anniversary, Madrid Zoo organized an exclusive media tour in July. Journalists received thorough information about the measures taken by Madrid Zoo to ensure the care of the animals during the most intense and prolonged heat wave of the last 80 years. Specialist care included keeping animals cool, providing them with summer food, and extra hydration methods.

With Madrid Zoo’s twin pandas, You You and Jiu Jiu, taking center stage on their first birthday (9/6/2021), September became Giant Panda Month. Activities included a weekend of special events, educational activities, and a tribute to their Panda grandparents.

One-year-old Panda twins.

A grand finale to the year

In November, the zoo hosted the Science and Innovation Week organized by the Madrid Knowledge Foundation. The event included guided tours and an educational, scientific workshop about the artificial insemination of panda bears.

Madrid Zoo’s 50th-anniversary celebrations concluded with an original nativity scene in Madrid, installed in the shark aquarium. This story even caught the attention of international media in the US, Germany and France.