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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Dormitator, 10 Jun 2018.

  1. Dormitator

    Dormitator Well-Known Member

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    Given its marginal status as a zoo there isn't a list around of the animal species that the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has on display, so I thought I'd try and write one. I've pooled the species in the gallery together with information from the internet, and visits I've made to the gardens (including one today, hopefully my memory hasn't faded...). A big thanks to Kakapo and Crowthorne for putting their photographs up into the gallery. If anyone has any extra species they've seen there to add to the list that would be awesome, it's well worth saying that my visit there today certainly wasn't exhaustive.

    Looking back into the archives of ZooChat, Kew seems to have held rather more animal species than it does at present. Looking in the gallery, it appears that some time after 2010 the gardens stopped keeping exotic wildfowl, leaving feral greylag and Canada geese to roam the ponds, alongside coots, mute swans, mallards and crested grebes. Some of the species may well have been wild birds which just came to exploit the free food. I might have missed some species today [it wouldn't surprise me if there were still Egyptian geese roaming around somewhere], but waterfowl once found included:

    Emperor goose (Chen canagicus)
    Lesser White-fronted goose (Anser erythropus)
    Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
    Canvasback (Aythya valisineria)
    Rosybill (Netta peposaca)
    Red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis)
    Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
    Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
    Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica)
    Red-crested pochard (Netta rufina)
    Gadwall (Mareca strepera)
    Tufted duck (Aythya fuligula)
    Bar-headed goose (Anser indicus)
    Red shoveler (Spatula platalea)
    Northern pintail (Anas acuta)
    Wood duck (Aix sponsa)

    An old postcard online also depicts black-necked swans as being present. The main lake in front of the palm house also houses common carp and koi.

    Sadly, the marine aquarium below the palm house is no longer accessible, presumably having been decommissioned. This once held:

    Seven-spotted archerfish (Toxotes chatareus)
    Hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
    Fox-faced rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus)
    Clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
    Atlantic mudskipper (Periophthalmus barbarus)
    Green chromide (Etroplus suratensis)
    Sea stickleback (Spinachia spinachia)
    Spotted garden eel (Heteroconger hassi)
    Leafy filefish (Chaetodermis penicilligera)
    Shrimpfish (Aeoliscus strigatus)
    Seahorse (Hippocampus sp.)
    Copperband butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus)
    Red-tailed butterflyfish (Chaetodon collare)
    Ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta)
    Longspined porcupine fish (Diodon holocanthus)
    Pajama cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
    Clown surgeonfish (Acanthurus lineatus)
    Shark catfish (Ariopsis seemanni)
    Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)
    Canary wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus)
    Picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus)

    Common prawn (Palaemon serratus)
    Shore crab (Carcinus maenas)
    Snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis)
    Upside down jellyfish (Cassiopea sp.)

    The Princess of Wales Conservatory also holds some aquaria, which are fortunately still looking great. In the series of small tanks can be found:

    Black musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
    Yellow-banded poison dart frog (Dendrobates leucomelas)
    Green-and-black poison dart frog (Dendrobates auratus)
    Red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri)
    Domestic angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)
    Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus)
    Clown loach (Chromobotia macracanthus)
    Bala shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus)
    Red-tailed black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor)

    In addition to this are two large waterlily ponds, the smaller of which has glass viewing ports, whilst the larger can only be viewed from above. The smaller contains:

    Gibby plec (Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps)
    Panaque (Panaque sp.) [no idea which one this is]
    Fahaka pufferfish (Tetraodon lineatus)
    Banded headstander (Anostomus taeniatus)
    Golden tench (Tinca tinca)
    Swordtails (Xiphophorus hellerii)
    Endler's livebearer (Poecilia wingei)
    Oscar (Astronotus ocellatus)

    A mbu puffer (Tetraodon mbu) was once found here as well along with some tinfoil barbs (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii).

    Whilst the larger holds (along with the Endler's and swordtails):

    Golden severum (Heros efasciatus)
    Barred sorubim (Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum)
    Redtail catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)
    Red-bellied pacu (Piaractus brachypomus)
    Lemon Fin Barb (Hypsibarbus wetmorei)
    Pangasius catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus)

    And finally, in both the palm house and the conservatory, Chinese water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) roam freely.

    So though it's considerably down in number from 5 years ago or so, Kew still holds a range of critters, the highlights being the Fahaka puffer and and huge Panaque. But you don't really visit Kew for the animals...
     
  2. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice work @Dormitator :) have been meaning to do something similar for a while, I'm just terrible at making species lists

    I see Egyptian Geese regularly on my lunchtime walks so they are still around. There are Indian Peafowl which like hanging around the Victoria Gate nabbing crumbs from the cafe tables. I also once saw a Golden Pheasant in the bamboo gardens near the Minka House, but I don't get up there very often.

    It's a shame the marine aquarium in the Palm House basement hasn't opened again. I saw it once about 2 years ago, can't remember if I got any photos though. It wasn't looking too good then, so not surprising it's been closed. Maybe any future renovation of the Palm House will see the marine section reopened?
     
    Last edited: 11 Jun 2018
  3. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    Thinking about it though, go back far enough and Kew had Kangaroo, Ostrich, Zebra and Quagga, to name just a few! There was a small royal menagerie in the grounds of what is now Queen Charlotte's Cottage. There have been ground surveys done of the area which found the outlines of the old enclosures, but this hasn't been published as far as I know.

    There were also apparently some enclosures for birds on what is now Kew Green, on a path locally known as Birdcage Walk (and were closed after a lady had a run in with an ostrich. This is during the Georgian era). I've only heard this as anecdote though and haven't yet found any more concrete evidence for this (but I keep looking!)
     
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  4. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    I remember Black-necked Swans and Maned Geese among others from my first visit in maybe 1971. I have a postcard some where of a Stanley Crane at Kew. Sad that they no longer keep waterfowl. I also knew someone who visited in the late 1940s and traded some of his Common Shelduck for Paradise Shelduck that Kew had reared. One of those Paradise Shelduck subsequently went to Slimbridge.
     
  5. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    Was there ever a mention or conversation of ZSL relocating from Regent's park to the Kew site or was it Richmond park?
     
  6. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I was at Kew recently, there are definately Egyptian Geese still there, several pairs and with families. They are on the Thames all around and in Bushey/Richmond Parks also. I also saw both Common and Red Crested Pochard drakes on the Lake but nothing else apart from Swans, Canada and feral Greylag geese.
     
  7. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    No Mandarins?
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I saw Mandarins at Bushey Park but not Kew, but they are bound to be there too.
     
  9. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    I've not seen a single Mandarin at Kew in the past year
     
  10. Dormitator

    Dormitator Well-Known Member

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    Thanks :)

    Completely forgot about the peafowl, thanks. I didn't see any Goldens yesterday, but I did see them a few years ago grubbing around under some Rhododendrons.

    I'd love to see the palm house renovated, there are some great species in there which could do with some more head space (the Ravenala in particular). I still think it would be even better if there were some obscure birds in there, but nowhere isn't improved by obscure birds.

    Blimey, that's pretty crazy. I imagine they would have caused some issues with the bed plantings.
     
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  11. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    On a related topic to animals at Kew, is the plant evolution exhibit at Kew still open? I remember when I was there in 1997 they had dramatic displays with models of the giant insects that lived with early plants. I read that the exhibit was closed for several years for remodeling and am curious if they still cover the giant insects.
     
  12. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Moderator Staff Member

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    If you're referring to the Evolution House (the smaller Glasshouse next to the Temperate House), this was closed as part of the Temperate House renovation 5 (or was it 7?) years ago. It has been repurposed as a schools teaching area now. I'll ask around and see what I can find out about the giant insects :)

    Can't disagree there, a few birds in there would be lovely!
     
  13. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    ZSL had a site in Richmond park at one point in the distant past.
     
  14. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    This was the short-lived thirty-three acre farm at Kingston "under the wall of Richmond Park" which the ZSL abandoned in 1834.
     
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  15. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    Nice compilation! By my memory, the Seaweed Garden aquaria under Palm House also held fiddler crab Uca tangeri. Another crab Cardisoma armatum (tough labeled wrongly as Potamon anomalus) was held in a small outdoor-facing aquaterrarium in the wall of a building. This was during my only UK visit (2006) so I don't know if this tank still exist.
     
  16. Zoovolunteer

    Zoovolunteer Well-Known Member

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    One other bird species to be seen/heard at Kew: Ring-Necked Parakeet!
     
  17. Kakapo

    Kakapo Well-Known Member

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    But they are free, not part of the collection. (Same for the coots and grebes). If we had to count the endless robins, starlings, dunnocks, tits and jays...!