Zoo: The Story of London Zoo

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The Zoo is a unique, fascinating, and often amusing, history of London Zoo illustrated with over seventy colour and black and white images. London Zoo had its beginnings in 1826 when Sir Stamford Raffles founded the Zoological Society of London. The Crown had leased part of Regent's Park to the Society and the press excitedly anticipated the coming of the 'ark' to London. The stage was now set for the world's first truly scientific zoo. The Zoo was to have a number of 'celebrity' animals over the years including: a hippopotamus called Obaysch, much visited by Queen Victoria; Winnie, an exceptionally tame bear who gave A.A. Milne the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh's name; and Chi-Chi, the Giant panda, who refused to breed but instead made advances to the eminent zoologist, Desmond Morris! In earlier days, there were some great escapes including that of a bear which ended up face to face with a terrified horse in Regent's Park Outer Circle, and of Cholmondley, a former clothes-wearing, cigarette-smoking pet chimpanzee, who hailed a bus near the Zoo! Some of the more unusual residents included the quagga, passenger pigeon, and thylacine or Tasmanian wolf - now all long since extinct. Jumbo, Ming, Booboo and Jubilee, amongst many others, also have their stories here. In addition, the author recounts the history of Whipsnade Zoo (also founded by the Zoological Society of London). It was a completely different type of zoo and, in common with its forerunner, was the first of its kind in the world. Many people who contributed to the London Zoo over the years are included, such as Bartlett the first superintendent, Peter Chalmers Mitchell and Julian Huxley, Jack Lester, George Cansdale and Desmond Morris. The Zoo is a fascinating history of London Zoo from its precarious beginnings, through the highs and lows - including the threat of closure - to its secure footing today and its setting of ever better standards for zoos around the world. It makes for compelling reading.