Sofia Zoo in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, was founded by royal decree on 1 May 1888, and is Southeastern Europe's oldest and largest zoological garden. It covers 36 hectares (89 acres) and, as of March 2006, housed 4,850 animals representing 840 species.
Initially, the zoo was located in the park of the former royal palace, with the primary attraction being a Eurasian black vulture caught in Bulgaria and exhibited in a cage in the garden. Later, pheasants and deer were added to the collection, but since the exhibits and facilities of the time proved inadequate to accommodate a pair of brown bears,Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria ordered a grant of land to be awarded to Sofia Zoo on the grounds of the former botanical garden, then in the outskirts of the city.
Sofia Zoo moved from its original (and smaller) location in the center of the city to a new 36-hectare (89-acre) site about 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) south of Sofia in 1982.
The zoo is home to grazing animals, primates, predators, penguins and birds.