Riga Zoo in Latvia

Riga Zoo

First elephant arrived1912
Number of species400
Last elephant left2003
Address Meza Prospekts 1
Zip-code LV-1014
Place Riga
Country Latvia
Website Website

Directors-2022: Sergey Chichagov (assistant director)

Key People


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
-: Gunars Shauers
(elephant head-keeper)

Elephant keepers
Record history
History of updates2023-05-24

Latest document update2023-05-24 23:02:33
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Riga Zoo, located at Meza Prospekts 1, in Riga, Latvia , was founded in 1912 and the first elephant arrived in 1912. The last elephant left in 2003.

Comments / picturesThe Zoological Garden in Riga, Capitol of Lettland, was founded 1912, as the first zoo within the Baltic states. 16,4 hectares it exhibits 2200 animals covering 400 Species, including 110 Species of mammals. The Riga Zoo is home to 41 of the Species listed on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'>IUCN Red data book of Endangered and Extinct Species. Most unique record is the oldest inhabitant in the Zoo, a Mississippi alligator (Alligator mississippienses) that has lived here since 1935.

1990 was the elephant Zuzanna born, but only three months later, her mother Zita (on breeding loan from Moscow Zoo) died. Zuzanna was brought up with milk and bottle. She was sold 1996 to Kobe Zoo in Japan, where she is now living with a bull of the same age. The elephant cow Rupa was send from Basel Zoo in Switzerland to Copenhagen for cover in the 80s, but she never accepted the Bull Chieng Mai there, and was therefore sold to Riga Zoo in the 90s. Later both elephants was transfered, Radsch to Emmen Zoo, and Rupa to Arnhem Zoo, both in Netherlands.

Daiga Leimane, Educator, Riga National Zoological Garden, Latvia

Zuze is famous Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) ♀ from Riga Zoo. She was born in April 5, 1990 and was the first newborn elephant in Riga Zoo history.

I took part in the artificial feeding of Zuze from the very day when her mother Zita died. I measured it every month, then every half a year.

Riga Zoo in Latvia Latvia
20.08.1990 / Zuze 3,5 months old, with Sergey Chichagov.

In early 90ies she became beloved by visitors and got huge media attention. Real owners of Zuze was Moscow Zoo, Russia. Latvian citizens donated 20 000 rubles to buy elephant back from Moscow Zoo. As time came for Zuze babies, but Riga Zoo didn’t have space for more than two grown elephants, Riga Zoo had to look new homes for Zuze. At age of 6 years, Zuze went for her new home to Kobe Oji Zoo in Japan.

Riga Zoo in Latvia LatviaZuze in the transport trailer at Riga Zoo, with elephant keepers Gunars Shauers, Alexandr Kravchenok and Alma Heninja, 1996-08-23.

Sergey Chichagov, Riga

References for records about Riga Zoo

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Riga Zoo, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=146. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Daiga Leimane, Educator, Riga National Zoological Garden, Latvia
  • Sergey Chichagov, Riga

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