The Botanical Garden and Zoo of Asunción is a botanical garden and zoo located in Asunción, capital of the Republic of Paraguay.
The Botanical Garden and Zoo is one of the principal open spaces of the city of Asunción, set in natural forest covering 110 hectares (270 acres) to the north of the city. The zoo is home to nearly seventy species of wildlife including birds, mammals and reptiles, mostly representing the fauna of South America. The botanical garden is home to native species, exhibiting in particular the variety and beauty of its lush trees.
The facilities include:
Botanical Garden: Originally called a botanical garden just because of the exuberant natural flora. Its trees are now over 150 years old and provide visitors with welcome shade.
Nursery: cultivating more than 500 species of plants, many of them medical, used for educational interpretation about the properties of herbs.
Zoo: It has about 64 species of animals, mammals, birds, reptiles and others. Its iconic exhibit is the Tagua, a species of peccary that inhabits the Paraguayan Chaco, initially believed extinct, which was rediscovered in the 1980s.
Natural History Museum: located in a former farmhouse of Carlos Antonio Lopez’s estate.
Golf: For 50 years, the municipality of Asunción has ceded part of its space to various institutions, one of them being Asunción Golf Club. Whilst still part of the Botanical Garden premises, it is managed completely independently.
Botanical Garden and Nursery
The nursery is located behind the Upper House and contains over 500 species specialising in medicinal plants. It is open to the public and works in cooperation with the Botanic Garden and Conservatory of the City of Geneva, Switzerland.
Established for over 10 years, it has undertaken investigations into the cultivation, distribution and introduction of plants, specifically native, but also medicinal plants introduced by Paraguayan settlers.
The work of the Conservatory is to preserve the culture of the knowledge of medicinal plants in Paraguay. “The Paraguayan people consume herbs and know the use of at least 50 species. The work of the nursery is to investigate cultivation, harvesting and propagation and to use that knowledge for education”.
Among its collections are:
The medicinal plant nursery, being a place of agricultural research, education and training of its cultivation, with about 500 cultivated species.
Agronomic nursery plants, with culture and selection for improved Paraguayan crop plants.
On 4 May 2006 the gardens launched the exhibition Ethnobotany 2006 “Our plants, our people” (“Spanish”), under the Paraguayan Ethnobotany Project (EPY) (which lasted for about ten years), with the support of the Conservatory and Botanical Garden of the City of Geneva and under the auspices of the organization Tesãi Reka Paraguay (TRP).
The project helped improve the botanical garden and created a large Paraguayan medicinal plant collection and the Center for Conservation and Environmental Education (CCEAM) located in the Botanical Garden, which develops numerous educational activities.