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Bronx Zoo African Plains (opened in 1941)

Discussion in 'United States' started by snowleopard, 13 Jan 2017.

  1. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    1 Dec 2007
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    I recently finished reading an excellent zoo book called The Animal Game: Searching for Wildness at the American Zoo (Daniel E. Bender) and this well-researched 2016 publication is 320 pages in length with an additional 50 pages of footnotes.

    There are some interesting sections on Frank Buck, great apes in zoos during the 1950's, National Zoo director William Mann's overseas expeditions to round up animals for his zoo in the 1930's, and even an entire chapter on zookeepers, unions and the great Bronx Zoo strike of 1961.

    The iconic African Plains complex that opened at the Bronx Zoo in 1941 is discussed, with a few tidbits of information that I found intriguing. "In all of 1941, attendance topped five million visitors, or, as the zoo pointed out, 4 percent of the nation's population." The zoo advertised with the phrase "Tanganyika at our doorstep" and visitors churned through the entrance gate.

    "Soon after the exhibit's opening, the reality of sex and mixed species increasingly gave way to segregation. The zebras, especially the stallions, were the first problem. They stalked the warthogs outside their dugouts. The zebras were the first to disappear, then the warthogs. Their burrowing riddled the plains with caves, and they ended up, far from their continental home, in the kangaroo house. Male bushbucks were soon relocated into a nearby corral after one attacked and killed a young nyala. Among male hoofed animals, only docile nyalas remained amid a dwindling herd of female bushbucks and rheboks. Even the ostriches were sex segregated after a cock ostrich's aggression forced keepers to rescue a young boy who wandered into the enclosure. The lions were also sex segregated."

    Does anyone know what the species lineup is these days?
  2. Wyman

    Wyman Well-Known Member

    23 Oct 2016
    On my visit in July 2016, I saw Nyalas, Slender Horned Gazelles, and the signage said something about Red Flanked Duikers. I also saw the abandoned Oryx habitat, and thought to myself that if the proper housing was built, the Rhinos from Zoo Center could be moved to the African Plains. I could also see Astor Court becoming an "Indo Pacific" area, with the Zoo Center becoming a Cassowary habitat (using the old Elephant Yard) and the old Monkey House being repurposed as an Australian House for Wombats, Koalas, Echidnas, Fruit Bats, Binturongs, etc. Kind of like Madagascar. The Sea Lions could stay in the pool, Madagascar would be incorporated, and maybe a wooded area for Grey Kangaroos and Emus would be nice, with a cohesive conservation message.
  3. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

    12 Aug 2008
    California, USA
    What was the original line-up of the African Plains in 1941? Were there any species besides nyala, bushbuck, rhebok, zebra, warthog, and ostrich?

    What were the exhibits in the original savanna? Was it the lion exhibit and the mixed-species savanna or were there other exhibits too?