Founded in 1859 by the ornithologist Niels Kjærbølling, Copenhagen Zoo it is one of the oldest zoos in Europe.
The animals that the visitors could contemplate at the opening were eagles, chickens, ducks, owls, rabbits, a fox, a seal in a bathtub and a turtle in a bucket. In the early years the zoo focused on showing as many different types of animals as possible, but as animal welfare later became an issue, the number of different species has dropped in favour of more space to each animal. In 1901 the zoo had a human display with 25 Indians- men, women and children- in an exhibition where the “brown exotic” people went about their daily lives in palm tree leaf huts constructed in the middle of the zoo. One of the most notable animals kept there was a male slow worm that lived there from 1892 to 1946 (for 54 years, which is a record among lizards).