Belfast Zoo (Bellevue Gardens) in United Kingdom

Belfast Zoo (Bellevue Gardens)
AddressAntrim Road
Zip-codeBT 36 7PN
PlaceBelfast, Northern Ireland
CountryUnited Kingdom
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Before becoming a zoo, the area was named Bellevue Gardens.

Information from Newtownabbeytimes website

In 1933, George Chapman, an animal dealer and circus entrepreneur, presented a collection of animals at the Bellevue Pleasure Gardens. That summer season alone, 203,193 tickets were sold at a rate of 4d for adults and 2d for children.

The collection included two zebra, a pair of lions, a tiger, four Russian bears, one hyena, a few pelicans and a baby Asiatic elephant.

Later that year, Belfast Corporation decided to research the idea of having a permanent zoo on the site - inspired, no doubt, by an increase of 850,000 passengers using the Glengormley tramway.

While the zoo was operated by George Chapman, Captain Varley was the superintendent of the zoo and he was backed up by Dick Foster, who was head keeper. George Chapman died on March 15 1935 and the running of the zoo was passed to his sister, Ada who continued to run the zoo until March 12 1940.


Information from Belfast Zoo website

The zoo was opened on 28 March 1934 by Sir Crawford McCullough, the then Lord Mayor of Belfast. The venture was supported by Councillor RJR Harcourt from Belfast Corporation and was partnered by George Chapman, an animal dealer and circus entrepreneur.


In 1941, the Ministry of Public Security ordered the destruction of 33 animals after north Belfast came under aerial attack during World War II.

Animals, including lions, wolves and polar bears, were killed and the collection was not restocked until around 1947.

Several elephants survived the attacks, and one baby elephant was cared for by an elderly lady who lived on the nearby Whitewell Road.


In April 2009, 48 year old Jenny and 36 year old Dunja were 'retired' to the Belfast Zoo from their home in Hannover. Both were previous circus elephants (Dunja was confiscated by German officials from Circus Montecarlo) and will be joining 32 year old Yhetoo and 44 year old Tina. Tina has has resided in Belfast since 1966, while Yhetoo arrived in January 2009 from the Krefeld Zoo in Germany. In 2009, the zoo in Northern Ireland changed their management program to protected contact and care for non-breeding females at the recommendation of Europe's Asian Elephant breeding program.

Source and citings for the article Belfast Zoo (Bellevue Gardens)

Reference list

Belfast Zoo (Bellevue Gardens), Elephant Encyclopedia, Koehl, D. (2011), (available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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