The Easter holidays mark the start of the busy season at Hellabrunn Zoo: the last of the winter gravel is swept from the paths, the meadows and trees become greener with each passing day and there are many newborns to discover as the spring temperatures lure more and more animals into the outdoor enclosures. Some of the animal residents even received a special Easter treat.

This year, the meerkats, raccoons and Arctic foxes were treated to a special Easter surprise: each received a colourful Easter basket with eggs and other goodies. These were not only beautifully decorated, but also designed to keep the animals occupied - after all, it's not every day that food is presented to them so nicely in baskets. The treats serve as animal enrichment, a concept that seeks to enrich the lives of zoo residents by providing environmental stimuli to encourage natural behaviours and promote wellbeing. This is necessary because zoo animals do not have to think or work for their food as they would in the wild. Instead of foraging for their meals, the animals are fed by their keepers. This leaves them with plenty of time on their hands. To spice up their daily routine, the animals at Hellabrunn Zoo are regularly given special enrichment activities such as Easter eggs, special toys or training sessions with the keepers.

By the way: There hasn't been an Easter egg hunt at Hellabrunn Zoo for many years, even if the rumour persists. “We abolished this campaign many years ago because the packaging and residues in the animal enclosures pose a risk to the health of our animals,” says zoo director Rasem Baban.

With the start of the Easter holidays, a new season begins at Hellabrunn Zoo. The spring weather attracts a large number of visitors, many of whom are visiting the zoo for the first time. To prepare for the Easter weekend, the last remnants of winter are removed, the moats are filled with water and Hellabrunn is made ready for one of the busiest times of year. “Last week, several members of staff helped sweep the gravel out of the corners and did some spring cleaning together,” adds Rasem Baban.

In addition, the renovation of Bridge 17, the stone bridge leading from the Isar entrance to the giraffe enclosure, is almost completed. “The full width of the bridge is now accessible to visitors, enabling us to use the Persian fallow deer enclosure again,” says the zoo director. Other renovation work includes the revamp of the stables, a site of local historical importance – ranging from a horse hospital in the First World War to the oldest building in Hellabrunn Zoo. The stable building, which according to plans was only built at the end of the 1970s, is now home to three Kunekune boars.

By the mid-20th century, the Persian fallow deer was thought to be extinct due to excessive hunting. But in 1955 a small population was discovered in southwestern Iran. All Persian fallow deer living in zoos today are descended from this population. Conservation efforts and the reintroduction into the wild of animals bred in zoos now protect this species from total extinction.

Naturally, there are also little Easter bunnies at Hellabrunn Zoo: the sable rabbits gave birth to three offspring this year. Moreover, the beautiful weather lures many species that tend to live somewhat secluded in winter out of their homes. The Pallas's cat, raccoons and lynxes can easily be spotted at the moment.

“Easter is family time and our beautiful zoo offers the perfect day out for a sunny spring day,” says chair of the supervisory board and mayor Verena Dietl. “I’m pleased that the zoo already has high attendance in the run-up to Easter. And I can understand why. After all, spring is here! The Isar Meadows are now resplendent, and it is definitely worth taking a look at the colourful wildflower meadows at Hellabrunn. When you can see so many animals outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather like we humans do, it's a special experience.

Additionally, the bird of prey demonstration will resume after the winter break from 30 March. The demonstration takes place at the Hellabrunn Arena daily at 1:45 pm. The zoo is now open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. Director Baban would like to make a small request to all zoo guests: “Even though the days are longer, we kindly ask you to please go to the exits by 6 pm so that all zoo employees and our animals can finish work.”

Due to the construction work currently taking place around the P2 car park, which has resulted in reduced parking spaces and traffic routing changes, the zoo recommends travelling by public transport, especially during the Easter holidays.

[Translate to English:] Drei Erdmännchen plündern das Osternest.
Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Jan Saurer
[Translate to English:] Ein junges Marderkaninchen frisst einen Löwenzahn.
Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Jan Saurer