History Of Zoos

History Of Zoos

Zoos were in the past referred to by names such as menagerie and zoological parks. The names have evolved with the passing of time and some people now refer to them as bioparks.

Collection and confinement of animals is a practice that goes back thousands of years. The earliest known existence of a zoo was discovered in 2009 after excava-tions were conducted at Heriakonpolis, Egypt. The excavations revealed that the menagerie existed in 3500 BC and housed animals like baboons, elephants, wild cats, hartebeest, and hippopotamus.

Kings and other leaders also used to collect and confine animals way back in history. One them is King Ashur-bel-kala of Assyria who came up with botanical and zoo-logical gardens in the 11th century BCE. Apart from King Ashur-bel-kala, an em-press from China known as Tinka also had an animal confinement facility where she kept deer. This was in the 2nd century BCE. Around the same time, King Wen of Zhou in ancient China also constructed a zoo which was referred to as Ling-yu. The zoo spanned an area of 6.1 square kilometers.

Greece and Rome were also not left behind in terms of collecting and keeping ani-mals in a sheltered place. Alexander the Great used to bring animals which he had found during his military trips to Greece. Most Greek cities already had zoos by the 4th century BCE. Animals were also being kept in private confinements in the Ro-man empire. They were kept for study purposes and also for fairs and arenas.

England royals also participated in zoo keeping. King Henry I kept animals like li-ons, leopards, and carmels at his Woodstock palace. In 1204, King John I construct-ed an animal collection at the Tower of London. This collection by King John I is considered the most prominent animal collection in England throughout the medie-val period.

In 1235, King Henry III received three leopards from Roman emperor Frederick II as a wedding gift. These animals were moved to the Bulwark in 1264. The Bulwark, which was renamed as Lion Tower, became open to the public for the first time dur-ing Queen Elizabeth I’s reign. As at the 18th century, people were being allowed to see the animals only after paying three pence or bringing a cat or a dog to feed to the animals.

In 1752, Adrian Van Stekhoven constructed a zoo in Vienna, Austria for Emperor Francis I of Rome. Emperor Francis I built the zoo for his wife Maria Theresa, the Archduchess of Austria. The zoo was initially intended to serve solely as an imperial menagerie but it was opened to the public years later in 1765. This Austrian zoo is the oldest zoo in the world that still exists.

Zoos were also being established in other parts of Europe in the 1700s and the 1800s. In Madrid, Spain, a zoo was established in 1775 and in 1795, Jacques-Henri Bernadin founded a zoo in Paris, France. The Paris zoo had been meant mainly for scientific research and educational purposes. In Russia, a zoo was constructed for the first time in 1806 by university professor Karl Fuchs.

The onset of the 19th century changed the face of zoos from that of being a symbol of royal power to one depicting a place for scientific learning and entertainment. In 1826, the Zoological Society of London was founded and then it established the London Zoo in 1828. London Zoo became the first scientific zoo to be established in the whole world.

The 19th century till date has seen zoos evolve. There now even things like safari parks and travelling zoos.

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