JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens celebrates 190th birthday of late French director

Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens celebrates 190th birthday of late French director

Tuesday, October 24, 2023, 08:54 GMT+7
Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens celebrates 190th birthday of late French director
The bust of Jean Baptiste Louis Pierre, a French botanist who was the first director of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, is seen at the facility located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City conducted a ceremony on Monday to mark the 190th birthday of Jean Baptiste Louis Pierre, a French botanist who was the first director of the zoo in 1865, when Vietnam was under French rule.

The commemoration was held in the main entrance area of the zoo, located in the city’s downtown District 1, where Pierre's bust is placed, said Huynh Thu Thao, chairwoman of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens Company Limited.

A flower offering ritual among other ceremonial procedures was conducted in front of the bust to celebrate the 190th birthday of the first director of the zoo, who was born on October 23, 1833.

Previously, the personal details of the French botanist were engraved in French into the stele beneath the bust, which many visitors could not read, said Thao. 

The flower offering ceremony to commemorate Jean Baptiste Louis Pierre, a French botanist who was the first director of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden, is conducted in the zoo in Ho Chi Minh City on October 23, 2023.

The flower offering ceremony to commemorate Jean Baptiste Louis Pierre, a French botanist who was the first director of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, is conducted in the zoo in Ho Chi Minh City, October 23, 2023.

The zoo therefore recently added notes in Vietnamese to the lower part of the stele so that everybody can read the basic information about him, the chairwoman stated.

“Today is the birthday of the first director, so we offer him flowers to commemorate and show gratitude to him. This is also an action to remind his successors to preserve and promote the legacy he left behind,” said Thao.

The zoo was built in March 1864 under a decree of French Admiral Pierre-Paul de La Grandière, commander of French forces in Cochinchina, according to the zoo. 

A year later, the facility was inaugurated and Pierre, who was director of Calcutta Botanical Garden in England at that time, was appointed to the post.

The baobab tree, a species originated from Africa, is seen at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in Ho Chi Minh City.

The baobab tree, a species originating in Africa, is seen at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City.

The zoo officially opened to the public in July 1869, about four years after its inauguration.

During his directorship until 1877, Pierre focused on infrastructure development and brought to the zoo many rare animals and plants he had collected from all over the world.

The botanist successfully planted many natural forest trees of Vietnamese species in the zoo and also brought in plants from Africa and the Americas.

From his efforts, an abundant botanical garden was born.  

Right in the first year of his post, Pierre had cages built for birds and deer and called on people to contribute to the zoo the animals they caught, including those of rare and valuable species.

Currently, the zoo has over 2,500 trees of 360 species, including over 700 ancient trees.

The facility is also home to more than 2,000 animals of 135 species, including rare and precious ones such as pheasants, doucs, yellow-cheeked gibbons, golden deer, fire leopards, and clouded leopards, among others.

Pierre was also credited as the 'father' of thousands of ancient trees on many streets and in large parks in Ho Chi Minh City.

“When it comes to the precious flora and fauna treasure the zoo has today, it is impossible to forget the great contributions of Louis Pierre,” Thao said.

A panoramic view of Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in Ho Chi Minh City as seen from above.

A panoramic view of Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City

Pierre passed away at 72 on October 30, 1905 in Saint-Mandé in the eastern suburbs of Paris, where he was also buried.

At 159 years old, the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of the eight oldest zoos in the world. 

The zoo became a member of the Southeast Asian Zoos Association in 1990 and will celebrate its 160th anniversary of establishment next year.

Like us on Facebook or  follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Vinh Tho - Le Phan / Tuoi Tre News

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Latest news