The Bitola Zoo was founded in 1951 by a group of committed nature enthusiasts living in the city of Bitola. Several years after its formation, due to the specificity and importance of its mission, the zoo was placed under the direct supervision of the former central state administration.
From its birth in 1951, the zoo has followed its mission to preserve existing national and international animal and plant biodiversity through display, breeding and conservation.
Evolving standards for confined animals and visitor experience have resulted in changes in animal environments and visitor pathways and amenities over the years. Throughout these changes, the Bitola Zoo has remained faithful and consistent in its purpose of nurturing the animals and meeting the needs of visitors.
Currently, one of the biggest changes in the history of the Bitola Zoo is underway – a complete renovation of the entire physical plant and educational program of the zoo. The technical documentation for the reconstruction of every animal enclosure and all other facilities in the Zoo has been completed. The scope of work includes 26 new animal environments, an education center, hiking trails, viewing platforms, a children`s park, restaurant, and service zone. The technical documentation has been created in accordance with the strict requirements of the European Union for standards of captive wild animals (Council Directive 1999/22/EC of 29 March 1999 on the keeping of wild animals in zoos), and the requirements of European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) as the most relevant institution in Europe regulating zoos and contemporary philosophy for all aspects of captive animal conservation and care.
Parallel with the technical documentation of the Bitola Zoo, the "Educational Program for Marketing and Promotion" has been launched. The two-year action plan is a comprehensive approach to the institutional programming of the zoo. In addition to educational aspects, the institution of volunteer programs in the zoo, the action plan seeks to increase the number and range of visitors and to create partnerships with domestic and foreign institutions.
In 2011, Bitola ZOO submitted an application for membership in EAZA. In recognition of the activities described above, in the last session of the EAZA Council held in Munich, Germany in April 2012, by general consensus ZOO Bitola was assigned the status of "zoo – candidate under reconstruction".
Bitola Zoo is a municipally owned and public operated facility. There are two public zoos in the Republic of Macedonia, the second to be found in the capitol city, Skopje.
The beautiful natural setting of the Bitola Zoo on the sloping hills surrounding Bitola offers the visitor a beautiful valley view, while the rising wooded hill above provides cool breeze and shade. The variety of terrain within the Bitola Zoo allows for animals with varying habitats, but maintains a path suitable for all ages of visitors to explore the zoo environs. The rolling hillside location suggests a larger area than the actual size of the zoo, which at 2 square hectares places it in the category of small zoological gardens.
Zoo Bitola holds more than 30 different species, with more than 400 individual animals.
Today, the zoo operates under the direct jurisdiction of the Municipal Council of Bitola.