The Zoological Society of Scotland was formally constituted on 18 March 1909 by the Edinburgh Lawyer Thomas Gillespie.
The Carnegie Aquarium is opened by The Earl of Elgin, Chair of the Carnegie UK Trust. Even though the Society was offered £10,000 from the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust in 1915 for the construction of an Aquarium, building didn’t begin until 1924 due to the war. It was a grand display, with a handsome entrance hall with two large oval pools, a main tank hall with tanks along each side and charismatic marine life such as loggerhead and hawksbill turtles, conger eels, lobsters, crabs, electric eels and lung fish. It was demolished in 1987, but you can still see the old entrance to the Aquarium by today’s main entrance.
Baboon Rock was created where the original wolves’ house was. A wonderful mass of rock was revealed which was perfect for the baboons.
The Darwin Maze was opened by HRH The Princess Royal. It was shaped like a tortoise as on Darwin’s trips to the Galapagos he started to formulate his theory of evolution due to the different adaptations the tortoises there had depending on their environment.
Budongo Trail is opened by HRH The Princess Royal. The Budongo Trail is a cutting edge enclosure which can house up to 30 chimpanzees. It incorporates three living pods of varying temperature, humidity and layout; and an extensive outdoor climbing frame. It offers a world-class interactive exhibit for visitors to learn about the primates and their habitat, as well as an array of opportunities to view the chimps close up from platforms and panoramic windows.
In January 2011, an agreement was signed between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association for the 10 year loan of two giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo. The panda pair Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived on Sunday 4th December 2011.
Sir Nils Olav, a king penguin, is the mascot to the Royal Norwegian Guard. He was named after two people: Major Nils Egelien (who organised to adopt one of Edinburgh Zoo’s King Penguins in 1972) and King Olav V of Norway. After his adoption, Sir Nils was given the role of mascot of the Norwegian Guard. Since then, each time the Guard has visited the zoo, Sir Nils has inspected the troops and received a promotion (Lance Corporal 1972, Corporal 1982, Sergeant 1987, Regimental Sergeant major 1993, Colonel-in-Chief 2005). In 2008 he was given the prestigious honour of a knighthood - a position so high it had to be approved the King of Norway, King Harald V. The ceremony was lavish, and a crowd of several hundred joined 130 Guardsmen as Nils walked down to receive his knighthood.
Mercedes was rescued from northern Canada in 1984 where she was due to be shot for being a nuisance to local townsfolk.
- Lean McDonald aged 15 from Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell
- Sarah Whitelaw, aged 13, from Strathaven Academy Strathaven
- Lucy Barton, aged 9, from Stromness Orkney
- Cameron Gow, aged 7, from Glasgow Gaelic School, Glasgow