Barcelona Zoo’s upward growth trend continues. In 2022, 740,015 people visited the Zoo, a 20% increase compared to the previous year, and well above the 710,000 visitors who came in 2019, before the pandemic. This positive trend reinforces the growth the Zoo has seen in recent years, which have been key for the implementation of the new Zoo model.
Zoo Club membership among families has also been strong. At the end of 2022, 23,963 households and a total of 81,447 members had signed up. These figures stabilise the growth seen in 2021 and, in the case of the total number of members, are 65% above pre-pandemic figures.
“We’re very pleased, since the increase in the number of visitors is the clearest sign that the new Zoo model is a success,” says Third Deputy Mayor of Barcelona City Council and Zoo Foundation Chair Laia Bonet. “This new focus on activities and visitor participation attracts many different groups, as we can see in this year’s numbers.”
The Zoo Club’s success has been thanks to its hard work on visitor loyalty and the popularity of activities designed especially for families. Visitors’ favourite initiatives include new programmes such as the Nature Passport, created last summer to help children visiting the Zoo learn about biodiversity. A total of 3,496 people have had fun with it so far. Another great success has been the Escape Room in the Invertebrates Area, with 952 participants and all the sessions full.
The number of participants in the Zoo’s camps during Holy Week and the summer and Christmas holidays has also bounced back. This year, 1,152 children participated in the activities planned for the school holidays.
The Zoo also held the first STEAM Zoo day, in which 600 1st and 2nd-year compulsory secondary education (ESO) students from Barcelona and the metropolitan area enjoyed several different scientific workshops organised by the Zoo’s education team and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia - BarcelonaTech (UPC). The goal of the project, which is also being implemented in other iconic spaces managed by Barcelona de Serveis Municipals, such as the Fòrum Park, the Olympic Ring and Tibidabo, is to promote careers in science among secondary school students. In the Zoo’s specific case, the programme focused on different aspects of biology.
The new Zoo model is now a reality
Education, conservation and research are the guiding principles behind the implementation of the new Zoo model. In 2022, this new approach continued to be clearly visible with the launch of numerous projects.
In addition to incorporating new educational activities, the Zoo has made progress in creating spaces that not only improve the visitor experience but also focus on raising awareness of the need to take care of wildlife and its natural habitats, especially in the case of endangered species. This is the goal of the Sahel Savannah interpretive trail, the Komodo Dragons Discovery Centre and the Invertebrates Area, one of visitors’ favourite new additions. Though it has only been open for six months, it has already welcomed 166,032 people.
In 2022, the Aquarama, which opened in 1968, was demolished and will be replaced by an animal reserve. The future installation will house species that are temporarily affected by the improvement work planned for the coming years.
The Zoo’s commitment to preserving endangered species goes beyond its boundaries. By maintaining alliances such as the partnership with the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) Endangered Species Programme, as well as several co-operation agreements, 43 projects for the conservation of endangered species were carried out over the course of 2022. Work was also done to reintroduce seven native species, namely the Mediterranean pond turtle, the Hermann’s turtle, the Montseny brook newt, the Spanish toothcarp, the Majorcan midwife toad, the European polecat and the hermit ibis, into the wild. The Zoo has facilitated the reintroduction of a total of 362 specimens.
In the scientific field, the Zoo Foundation has awarded 8 grants and has participated in the launch of 35 conservation and research projects, playing an active role in generating knowledge and raising awareness about the protection of ecosystems.