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Dierenpark Wassenaar (Closed) A visit to Dierenpark Wassenaar in 1974, Part 1

Discussion in 'Netherlands' started by gentle lemur, 6 Sep 2016.

  1. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    In some ways the summer of 1974 was the time of my life. I finished my last course at university and at our final party I realised that all my fellow postgrads were jealous of me: they were going to start their teaching careers in England, but I was going to Africa :D That was a wonderful feeling.
    A few days later I visited Howletts for the first time - I had read a bit about the gorillas and earlier in the year I attended a meeting where John Aspinall spoke and showed a film, so I was delighted to be able to see the collection for myself as it was only open for a few days that year. I spent a few days with my family on the Isle of Man, where I saw my first wild dolphin, and then I had a few days in Amsterdam. I revisited Artis and Blijdorp zoos plus Antwerp, as I had to see the Eastern lowland gorillas and bonobos again. I also made a special trip to Dierenpark Wassenaar as I had read about their tenrecs in the International Zoo Yearbook.
    I made brief notes about each zoo, and I still have most of them, but I have lost the ones about Wassenaar, so I am relying on my photos and memories from over 40 years ago: if I make any mistakes in this post please correct them if you can and forgive my errors.
    The first exhibit I remember was an unusual one: near the entrance was a vividly painted replica of a sailing ship, with a crew of pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina). The old male gave me a good demonstration of his 'flehmen' expression.

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    I'm afraid I can't remember too much about the Paradijshal and the Louisehal: my clearest memory is of a large glasshouse with thick tropical planting and water features on the left hand side and individual aviaries on the right. Several zoos had pairs of Pesquet's parrots on display at that time, but I think the pair at Wassenaar was the first to hatch a chick, although I'm not sure if they ever raised one successfully.

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    However I was particularly interested in the Junglehuis, where the tenrecs were on show, together with the reptiles. The tail-less tenrecs were on show in a separate room in two large cages which were quite like aquaria, if I remember correctly. I think that they were some of the young animals bred in the previous year(s).

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    Nearby were pygmy hedgehog tenrecs and spiny tenrecs (greater hedgehog tenrecs), which I hadn't expected, but I was very pleased to see three new species in a few minutes.

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    Alan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 6 Sep 2016
  2. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Part 2

    The zoo had its share of large cats, but I found the small cats more interesting. They were kept in a row of cages in a long, narrow walled garden. Each cage was also also relatively long and narrow and you could walk along either side, but the cats seemed particularly contented and were not disturbed by visitors. The two new species for me were Asian golden cats and sand cats, and I was greatly impressed by both of them and I was pleased to get photos.

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    Consulting Zootierliste, I see that Wassenaar had all 3 subspecies of Catopuma temminckii at various times; can anyone identify the specimen in this photo (or might it be a hybrid?). Likewise in 1974, they held both Felis margarita harrisoni and Felis margarita scheffeli, so I have to ask the same question again :confused:

    I still have to scan the photos I took of the very nice group of gorillas in the zoo, but I will try to do so soon.

    Alan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 6 Sep 2016
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I fixed your photo links (it turns out - as we discovered on devilfish's thread - that the code changes a couple of hours after the photo is uploaded, so if a link is made too soon then it will not show the photo once the code changes, just a blank space). I inadvertently used the medium code rather than thumbnail, so I hope that is all right.
     
  4. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    No problem at all, thank you. I had wondered why photos sometimes disappeared.

    Alan
     
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    It will not have been a hybrid; Wassenaar kept and bred all three subspecies as distinct populations over the years, both during the time it was open to the public and afterwards, when it was active as a private breeding centre.

    In appearance, I *think* the cat you photographed looks most like tristis; the more mottled flanks and legs, greater variety in colouration and less-vibrant coat colour would tend to rule out the nominate subspecies, whilst the gracile build is quite different to the stocky dominicanorum which were around in European collections until recently. However, as I have never seen a photograph of a female belonging to dominicanorum I cannot be 100% sure that the robust build I am familiar with is not merely an example of sexual dimorphism; I only know that in tristis both male and female are very gracile.

    So to summarise, probably tristis, possibly dominicanorum, I very much doubt it was nominate.

    For comparison:

    Tristis

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    Dominicanorum

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    Temminckii

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  6. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Love the idea of the simian 'crew'.:D

    I visited here once in the same era. I don't remember the sailing ship. It was midwinter in a snowstorm(don't ask why I went then) and very bleak feeling with few other visitors. I cannot remember much at all apart from the indoor Gorilla area.:(
     
  7. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Would be interesting to see these. The group was pretty much split up when it closed.
     
  8. Bele

    Bele Well-Known Member

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    I am enjoying this thread very much .

    I visited Wassenaar in October 1979 as part of a Dutch Zoo tour organised by the Marwell Zoological Society . We visited 4 collections - Artis , Blijdorp , Harderwijk and Wassenaar . I have a folder of old zoo visit notes and have found in it reports of my visits to Harderwijk and Blijdorp , but unfortunately nothing on Wassenaar !

    My only clear memories of Wassenaar were the of long glass-house in which were housed the bonobos ( very exciting to see them ) and a number of orang utans . For the first time I heard the long call of a male orang .
     
  9. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Great thread, great photos and a great zoo. I've visited Wassenaar several times but somewhat later than you did gentle lemur ( from 1978 onwards ). I must have several notes but didn't have a camera at that moment :( - so no pictures from me.
    Next to the notes I made several ( dutch ) animal-magazines and news-papers reported on a regulary base about the collection so I guess I can provide some information about the collection.
     
  10. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for all these comments. I must have another look for the notes that I lost (I will not have thrown them away deliberately, but they may have been discarded accidentally). I think I will have listed some of the birds that I saw, but couldn't photograph. I do still have the guidebook, but I didn't annotate it: I don't read Dutch, but it seems very general about a wide range of species and doesn't give details about the animals on-show. It is only illustrated in black and white.
    I am very grateful for TLD's information about the golden cats, and will follow his advice. Who knows anything about sand cat subspecies?

    Alan
     
  11. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Just uploaded some photos of the "famous" Monkey boat in the Wassenaar Gallery.
     
  12. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for posting these. It's good to have an old memory confirmed and renewed :)

    Alan