Natur- und Tierpark Goldau

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Natur- und Tierpark Goldau is one of six scientifically managed zoos in Switzerland. It is situated in the area that was devastated by the Goldau landslide of 1806. The zoo attracted 859,000 visitors in 2013. [1]

Zoo collection of assorted wild animal species kept for purposes like: study, conservation and, or, commercial exhibition

A zoo is a facility in which all animals are housed within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also breed.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western, central, and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.


Deer in the park Tierpark06.JPG
Deer in the park

On 2 September 1806, huge masses of rock fell off the mountain called Rossberg and interred the village of Goldau. 457 people lost their lives. More than 200 years after, some traces of the catastrophe are still visible. The forest area between the rebuilt town and Lake Lauerz contains numerous rocks that are superimposed one on the other.

Wildspitz mountain range in Switzerland

The Wildspitz is the highest summit of the Rossberg, a mountain of the Schwyzer Alps, located on the border between the Swiss cantons of Zug and Schwyz. Reaching a height of 1,580 metres above sea level, it is the highest summit in the canton of Zug.

Goldau village in Arth SZ, Switzerland

Goldau is a city in the community of Arth, canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. It lies between two mountains, the Rigi and the Rossberg. Well known attractions include the Natur- und Tierpark Goldau and the Arth-Goldau valley station of the Arth-Rigi Bahn connecting to the Rigi mountain.

Lake Lauerz lake in Switzerland

Lake Lauerz is a lake in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. Its water area varies between 310 ha and 360 ha, a maximum depth of 14 m (45.9 ft), and a water level elevation above sea level of 447 m (1,466.5 ft).

In the early 1920s some animal lovers decided to establish a park for animals and nature amidst this wild landscape. An association called Tierparkverein Goldau was founded in 1925 and an area for the animal park and bird sanctuary was delimited. The association had a scarce amount of funds, its members therefore made many installations on socage. From the beginning, they wanted it to be an animal park for endemic mammals and birds. Soon after the opening, the park got a pair of Alpine ibex from a park in St. Gallen. Red, fallow and sika deer came later in addition.

Socage feudal duty of servants

Socage was one of the feudal duties and hence land tenure forms in the feudal system. A farmer, for example, held the land in exchange for a clearly defined, fixed payment to be made at specified intervals to his feudal lord, who in turn had his own feudal obligations, to the farmer and to the Crown. In theory this might involve supplying the lord with produce but most usually it meant a straightforward payment of cash, i.e., rent.

Alpine ibex species of mammal

The Alpine ibex, also known as the steinbock, bouquetin, or simply ibex, is a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps. It is a sexually dimorphic species with larger males who carry larger, curved horns. The coat colour is typically brownish grey. Alpine ibex tend to live in steep, rough terrain near the snow line. They are also social, although adult males and females segregate for most of the year, coming together only to mate. Four distinct groups exist; adult male groups, female-offspring groups, groups of young individuals, and mixed sex groups.

St. Gallen Place in Switzerland

St. Gallen or traditionally St Gall, in German sometimes Sankt Gallen is a Swiss town and the capital of the canton of St. Gallen. It evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, founded in the 7th century. Today, it is a large urban agglomeration and represents the center of eastern Switzerland. Its economy consists mainly of the service sector. Internationally, the town is known as the home of the University of St. Gallen, one of world's leading business schools.

In 1999, hurricane Lothar destroyed 80 percent of the forest and vastly damaged the compounds. With the help of local residents, donations and subsidies by the Canton of Schwyz the damage was removed with a low financial burden for the zoo.[ citation needed ]

Canton of Schwyz Canton of Switzerland

The canton of Schwyz is a canton in central Switzerland between the Alps in the south, Lake Lucerne to the west and Lake Zürich in the north, centered on and named after the town of Schwyz.


Pupils observe a common toad. Besucherinformation Natur- und Tierpark Goldau.JPG
Pupils observe a common toad.

The park in Goldau still focusses on the endemic and European fauna. In the large, freely walkable area visitors can interact with sika deer, fallow deer and mouflons. The feeding of these animals is allowed. The park rears rare mammals and birds as part of the European Endangered Species Programme, including Syrian brown bears, European bisons and Northern bald ibises. Especially noteworthy is the international species programme for bearded vultures.

Mouflon common name

The mouflon is a subspecies group of the wild sheep. Populations of O. orientalis can be partitioned into the mouflons and the urials. The mouflon is thought to be the ancestor for all modern domestic sheep breeds.

The European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) is a population management programme for animals of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). It is one of the worldwide assembly of such regional breeding programs for threatened species in zoos. The North America counterpart is the Species Survival Plan (SSP), while Australian, Japanese and Indian zoos also have similar programs. Combined, there are now many hundred zoos worldwide involved in the regional breeding programs. Each EEP has a coordinator who is assisted by a species committee. The coordinator collects information on the status of all the animals kept in EAZA zoos and aquariums of the species for which he or she is responsible, produces a studbook, carries out demographical and genetic analyses, produces a plan for the future management of the species and provides recommendations to participating institutions. Together with the Species Committee, recommendations are made each year about relocating and breeding animals, and the conditions of such a move.

Syrian brown bear subspecies of mammal

The Syrian brown bear is a relatively small subspecies of brown bear native to the Middle East.

Natur- und Tierpark Goldau runs a school inside the park where zoo pedagogues and park rangers offer workshops for school classes and guided tours for schools and visitor groups to the animals. The rangers offer for example commentated feedings of bears, cormorants and wild boars. They also work as informants for individual visitors doing a walkabout.


A Syrian brown bear and a gray wolf coexisting in the park Baerwolf tierparkgoldau.jpg
A Syrian brown bear and a gray wolf coexisting in the park

The surface of the animal park has recently been expanded from 17 to 34 hectares. Additionally to the original park area containing a forest and a lake it now contains land on the other side of a road. Visitors bridge the road on a 70 metres wide wildlife crossing. It was the main feature of the first expansion stage, which cost 13 million Swiss francs and was finished in 2004. In the area called Grosswiyer at the foot of the Rossberg mountain, the park opened a large site for both gray wolves and brown bears. This attraction was opened on 27 June 2009.

Other plans for the expansion included beaver lodges, vivariums, a site for phasianidae, an amphibian biotope as well as a farm with rare domestic animals. A previously artificial creekbed has been restored and revitalized. This measure allows a „reconquest“ of the stretch of water by flora and fauna in the Grosswiyer park area.


The operations of Natur- und Tierpark Goldau are run by an association with currently around 22,000 members. A foundation is backing the long-term existence of the zoo and is its proprietor. It is responsible for the earmarked attribution of bequests and large donations under supervision of the Swiss Confederation. The association and the foundation form together the umbrella organisation of the park that joined the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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Coordinates: 47°03′01″N8°33′11″E / 47.0503°N 8.5531°E / 47.0503; 8.5531