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History of Zoos

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  Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: History of Zoos
    Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 08:18
Ever since the first animal domestication, people have been fascinated with them. All types of animals were kept throughout the ancient world, and used for many different purposes. Collections and parks were not unheard of throughout the Mediterranean and Asia.
The true origins of zoos started to take place during the Middle Ages in Europe.
Menageries were the name given to institutions or collections of animals for public display in captivity.

Henry III of England was the a pioneer in the practice of keeping wild animals in captivity, and built London's prominent 'Tower Menagerie' in 1235AD. Another of the pioneers was Frederick II Holy Roman Emperor. Frederick had a great love of animals and the natural world. He developed the mobile Menagerie which he took around Italy and Europe. The collection included exotic animals such as Cheetahs, Elephants, Lynx, Giraffes, Leopards, Wolves and Antelope.
Menageries were later established as add-ons to palaces and buildings of great importance. Versailles had a menagerie, as well as Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna. As the idea of Menageries spread and captive animal trade was becoming more easily accessible throughout Europe and Asia, permanent facilities were constructed to accommodate exotic animals from all corners of the earth. The 'Mnagerie du Jardin des Plantes' was a first of its kind, in that it was built for scientific and educational purposes rather than solely for public entertainment. 

By 1828, the first true captive animal complex was officially recognised as a 'zoo' - London Zoological Gardens. Throughout the 19th century zoos opened all around the world, like Central Park Zoo and Melbourne Zoo. Despite the basic changes in exhibit/cage design due to technological advances and larger budgets, little had changed on the animals' behalf over the centuries. They tended to be couped up concrete floored cages, with big iron bars, and water bowl and possibly a small pool.

The 1970s however, saw a major development and makeover in the construction and thought behind zoos. Conservation and Ecology became more active themes to be taken into consideration. Environmental enrichment, stimulation, exhibit-habitat  likeness and animal welfare formed the basis of enclosure design from then on. Since, zoos have developed the most intricate, stimulating and naturally alike exhibits for their animals, due to the great concern over conservation matters and extended government funding. Zoos are now primary tourist, conservation and education centres - but still ever changing and improving. Who knows what the future might be for zoological institutions.

Any thoughts and/or comments?

- Knights -


Edited by Knights - 02-Feb-2007 at 08:23
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  Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 08:47
Here are some photos of early zoos (Menageries).
The first an image of the London's Tower Menagerie.


The second image is of the Menagerie at Versailles, under Louis XIV.

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  Quote Hellios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 22:05
Some Chinese palaces had facilities that can be called zoos.
Large sections of the compound dedicated to housing exotic animals for show.
 
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  Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 22:11
Really? I couldn't find any detailed information about Chinese zoos on the internet, do you have any other sources or images of these zoos? I am sure that Chinese Emperors such as the Ming ones had zoo like collections of exotic animals. On Zheng He's voyage he brought a giraffe back from Africa as a gift to the Emperor. The Emperor thought it was a dragon, and it was kept in his collection. The Chinese had great reverence for the 'dragon'-giraffe. 
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  Quote Hellios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 22:27

I don't have any images but I read that some Chinese palaces had menageries in the section of the compound between the main building & the outer walls.
 

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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 23:39
I'm still looking for the source, but I remember reading that the Romans also had zoos.
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  Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2007 at 23:56
Originally posted by red clay

I'm still looking for the source, but I remember reading that the Romans also had zoos.

OK looking forward to hearing about it Red Clay.
The Romans did in fact have collections of captive animals, used mainly for gladiatorial purposes. The largest single use of captive animals by the Romans was when Emperor Nero made a company of Heavy Cavalry take on 300 lions and 400 bears! Now that would be carnage, even though the animals would have been brought into the arena progressively. Not sure what the outcome was.

The Ancient Egyptians had one of the first captive animal collections in their temples. Around 2000BC the 3rd Dynasty Sacred Animals such as Ibis, Baboons and Lions were kept in the temples.
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  Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Feb-2007 at 19:11
Originally posted by Knights

Originally posted by red clay

I'm still looking for the source, but I remember reading that the Romans also had zoos.

OK looking forward to hearing about it Red Clay.
The Romans did in fact have collections of captive animals, used mainly for gladiatorial purposes. The largest single use of captive animals by the Romans was when Emperor Nero made a company of Heavy Cavalry take on 300 lions and 400 bears! Now that would be carnage, even though the animals would have been brought into the arena progressively. Not sure what the outcome was.
 


Yeah, I also mentioned somewhere else that Romans imported the tigers from Asia and entertained the Romans by making tigers to have a deathmatch with lions.
     
   
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