Dublin Zoo is delighted to announce they have yet again broken their record for the number of visitors welcomed through the gates last year. The final footfall figure for 2012 surpassed last year's 1 million reaching an all-time high of 1,029,417.
This increase of 2.5% confirms Dublin Zoo's status as the most popular family visitor attraction in Ireland with over 95% domestic visitors*.
Leo Oosterweghel, director of Dublin Zoo said, "We are absolutely thrilled to have welcomed even more visitors than last year. We would like to thank all our friends and supporters, old and new, who helped us achieve this new record. Reaching 1 million in 2011 was fantastic but to do it again and add to that number is phenomenal.
"Our success can be attributed to the dedication and hard work of the team at Dublin Zoo. The team continuously strives to enhance the animal habitats and at the same time ensuring that visitors have an unforgettable experience which is value for money.
"We are delighted to say that the Zoo is more popular than ever. We are extremely proud to be in a position to say that after a decade of continuous development that Dublin Zoo is amongst the best Zoos in the world."
Mr. Oosterweghel continued, "The Zoo belongs to the Irish people who have a great pride in such a world-class facility and we share our success with the generations who continue to support us."
2012 was an extremely busy year and saw the opening of the Asian Forest, celebrated baby gorilla Kituba's first birthday and welcomed many new arrivals including a rare Eastern bongo calf, a tapir calf, two red panda cubs, two meerkat pups, two snowy owls and a sea lion pup, not to mention many new births at the Family Farm and a visit from international superstar Jennifer Lopez who enjoyed a day out at the Zoo with her family in October.
Among the new arrivals and for the first time ever Dublin Zoo introduced two young Asian lionesses and a bull elephant, Upali, to the collection of animals.
Upali, the bull elephant, joining the group of females was a momentous development for both the Zoo and the international breeding programme. It is expected the elephants will mate and double the size of the Dublin Zoo herd over the coming years.
In 2012 the extremely popular TV show 'The Zoo' aired for 10 weeks on RTÉ One and 'The Zoo Christmas Special' was watched by an average audience of 429,000 viewers. In addition, increased marketing, public relations and social media activity contributed hugely to the success of Dublin Zoo.
In 2013 and beyond, Dublin Zoo plans to continue to develop its offering, further enhancing the visitor experience and ensuring visitors continue to receive the best value for money.
Mr. Oosterweghel continued, "Over the past two decades Dublin Zoo has transformed into a world-class centre of learning about wildlife and conservation. It is also an integral part of more and more European breeding programmes for endangered species."
Dublin Zoo, a not for profit organisation, is open seven days a week from 9.30am to 4.30pm in January. For further information on Dublin Zoo visit www.facebook.com/dublinzoo, www.dublinzoo.ie.