The Kiev Zoo (Ukrainian: Київський Зоопарк, Kyivskyi Zoopark) is one of the largest zoos in the former Soviet Union and the only zoo in Kiev, Ukraine. Situated on about 40 hectares (99 acres), the zoo is cared for by 378 staff members and receives about 280,000 visitors annually.
The Kiev Zoo was first founded in 1908 by the Nature Lovers Society and was financed by various private donations. During its first years in business, the zoo experienced some hardships and therefore, did not contain many animals, just 17 different types. During the first winter the zoo was opened, the animals had to be kept in the food storage of the main Kiev railway station, as the zoo's founders had not found a suitable shelter to keep the animals in during cold weather. Eventually, the shelter was found in the Kiev Botanical Garden[disambiguation needed ]. As the zoo prospered, the number of animals had increased, limiting the space available. It was reported that stray animals frightened the employees of the garden.
Only 4 years after the zoo was founded it was given a relatively large, permanent area in the outskirts of Kiev. In 1913 the animals premises received heating.
Since 1914, as the political instability in Imperial Russia tightened, the development of the zoo was held up. Only after the Russian Revolution ended did the zoo recover. During the 1940s (World War II), Kiev was occupied by the Nazi forces, and the zoo was being used by the German garrison. Fortunately, the animals were evacuated out of Kiev, and later returned after the end of the war.