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Society House at Dublin Zoo is now a Centre for Species Survival

November 9th, 2023

With a busy day ahead in the Dáil and the Seanad, I started my Tuesday with a visit to Dublin Zoo, where the recently refurbished Society House was officially reopened, and relaunched as the new National Centre for Species Survival. A fantastic heritage building with a wonderful history, Society House was built in 1868 as a home for Dublin Zoo superintendent Edward Carter, and between 1868 and 2020 all of Dublin Zoo's superintendents/directors (plus two celebrated tiger cubs!) called this building home.

In the 19th century, the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland used the parlour for breakfast meetings where scientists, artists and VIPs gathered for discussions, and until the mid-twentieth century Society House was an informal veterinary hospital for young, sick or delicate animals.

Famously, 1959, then-superintendent Terry Murphy successfully hand-reared two tiger cubs in Society house, and Buster and Not-So-Good went on to become feline celebrities at the Zoo.

With the support of the government through the Office of Public Works, Society House has been completely renovated over the last twelve months, and its reopening today had a special significance as it took on an important new function: a National Centre for Species Survival.

I'm really delighted to see such a storied and historic building reimagined in a way that celebrates its past while looking to the future. Working in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC), the Centre is the latest in a growing global network, all working to drive action to protect wildlife. In Dublin Zoo, the Centre will act as a hub for species conservation efforts both in Ireland and around the world.

Not only is this a very important move towards achieving a key objective of Dublin Zoo’s ten year vision ‘to save wildlife in Ireland and globally’, but it will help make Dublin Zoo a national focal point for species conservation status assessment and planning. As I told RTÉ news this morning, the conservation of Irish species is vital and the work that will be done in the National Centre for Species Survival will play a major role in preserving our natural heritage. Watch more from their coverage below:


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