The Taipei Municipal Zoo or "Muzha Zoo木柵動物園" was actually relocated from Yuanshan in 1986. The original Yuanshan Zoo圓山動物園[Maruyama Zoo] was established in 1914 by a 70-person touring circus from Japan. It was taken over by the Colonial Gov't in 1915 and quickly became a very popular site with more than 800 visitors on any given Sunday. This Zoo housed about 70 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The picture above shows one of the main attractions, an Indian elephant named Malan [note: another, Lin Wang, was added in either 1952 or 1954].
Near the bottom of the water buffalo page of Taipics.com, there are photos of a 大猩猩 [Gorilla gorilla] (one of them is shown below), the then resident celebrity of Yuanshan Zoo. This majestic looking gorilla was electrocuted in 1945 when the Americans came to bomb Taipei, allegedly to prevent it from escaping from the Zoo and mauling hapless citizens in its path. Unfortunately, the American bombers never did hit this area, so the gorilla (and two lions) died for nothing. It was made into a ferocious fully-standing specimen-display that had remained a source of fascination for generations of children.
Then there was this exotic "fire-eating bird食火鳥", the most dangerous bird in any zoo, that had somehow avoided the euthanasia and survived the war. For illustration purposes, a representing photo here:
The fire-eating fame of 火喰鳥 (hi-ku'i-tori) originated from 1778 when the strange flight-less bird arrived in Nagasaki, Japan, on a Dutch merchant ship. The painting above depicts a Dutchman in striped pants holding a piece of flaming charcoal for the bird, called Cassowary, to eat. No one has ever witnessed such an event at the Yuanshan Zoo or elsewhere, however. The bird apparently eats fruits, insects, and small animals; everything except fire. Many of us still feel duped.
There was also an albino Persian cat with heterochromia (different eye colors). It lived by itself in a tiny wooden cage. Again, for illustration:
Alexander the Great (356-323BC) also had heterochromic eyes, probably from injury to the sympathetic nerve along the external carotid artery when his dad, Philip II of Macedonia (382-336BC), or someone picked up Alex the toddler by his head and inadvertently stretched the young neck. This type of nervous damage prevents proper pigmentation of the iris resulting in a blue eye on the afflicted side.
The Zoo was renovated and further expanded in the 1950s. The marketing policy of adding special shows and exhibits continued for 30 years until 1979.
On September 14, 1986, the zoo animals were moved, amidst great fanfare, through the streets of Taipei to the present site in 木柵.