Reuben David (19 September 1912[1] – 24 March 1989) was a zoologist and the founder of the Kankaria Zoo in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.


He was born into a Bene Israel Jewish family in Ahmedabad.[2] He was the youngest son of Joseph David.[3] He was a self-taught veterinarian. He was invited by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in 1951 to create a zoo in the city.[2] He also founded the Kankaria Zoo (now Kamala Nehru Zoological Garden), the Chacha Nehru Balvatika (Children's Park) and the Natural History Museum, later named after him.[4][5][6][7] He had lost his speech due to cancer.[6] He also served as an advisor for Sundervan in Ahmedabad and Indroda Park in Gandhinagar.[4]

He co-authored The Asiatic Lion (1991) with M. A. Rashid who was a retired chief conservator of forests under Government of Gujarat.[4]

He was the Fellow of the Zoological Society (FZS).[8] He was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1975.[4]

Australian anthropologist Colin Groves discovered the prehistoric warthog in 1981 and named the Central Asian boar after him, Sus scrofa davidi.[5][8]

Personal life

Author Esther David is his daughter.[5]


  1. ^ "Reuben David (1912 -1989) - Esther David". Esther David. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Animal instinct".
  3. ^ Gujarat State Gazetteer. Director, Government Print., Stationery and Publications, Gujarat State. 1989. p. 342.
  4. ^ a b c d "AMC to mark 100th birth anniversary of zoologist Reuben David today". Indian Express. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b c John, Paul (28 September 2019). "Reuben David's legacy crumbling into oblivion". The Times of India.
  6. ^ a b "Ahmedabad zoo architect Reuben David remembered on 100th birth anniversary". The Indian Express. 20 September 2012.
  7. ^ Thomas, Amelia (11 January 2008). The Zoo on the Road to Nablus. PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781586486587.
  8. ^ a b Groves, Colin P. (1981). Ancestors for the Pigs: Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Genus Sus. Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-909596-75-0.