The Buenos Aires Botanical Garden (official name in Spanish: Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires) is located in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires in Argentina. The garden is triangular in shape, and is bounded by Santa Fe Avenue, Las Heras Avenue and República Árabe Siria Street.
The garden, which was declared a national monument in 1996, has a total area of 6.9772 ha (0.026939 sq mi; 17.241 acres), and holds approx 5,500 species of plants, trees and shrubs, as well as a number of sculptures, monuments and five greenhouses.
Designed by French architect and landscape designer Carlos Thays, the garden was inaugurated on September 7, 1898. Thays and his family lived in an English style mansion, located within the gardens, between 1892 and 1898, when he served as director of parks and walks in the city. The mansion, built in 1881, is currently the main building of the complex.
In recent years, the Botanical Garden has become home to a large population of cats. The cats are not feral animals born in the Garden, but are all domestic cats abandoned there by owners who wished for unknown reasons to get rid of their household cats. Garden authorities and security personnel have so far been unable to check the regular abandonment of unwanted household cats. Projects to remove the cats have been rejected due to objection from neighbors and animal protection agencies.
Removal of the existing cats would not solve the problem of the cat population in the Garden, since, in summer, abandonment rates are so high as to be of 1 cat per day. Thanks to the dedication of volunteers in the animal protection community who formed a voluntary committee, a humane temporary solution became possible. Cats are allowed to live in the Garden; the volunteer committee feeds the cats, puts them up for adoption and provides vaccines and veterinary care for them, as well as organizes castration operatives, sometimes with the cooperation of Instituto de Zoonosis Luis Pasteur.