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Tenby Zoo

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Carl Jones, 15 Oct 2014.

  1. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    I am writing a short article on the Tenby Zoo that was open 1968-1979. This is the zoo that was built in the old fort on St. Catherine's Island. I knew this zoo in the early 1970's when I was friends with the then owners Christopher and Marion Batt.

    The animals were kept in enclosures built into the fort’s rooms and on the flat roof. The cages were basic, wooden structures covered with heavy gauge wire netting, suitably furnished with perches, shelves and shelters, and were adequate by the standards of the day. The smaller and more delicate species were kept indoors; a tree shrew, a pair of night monkeys and a breeding group of Common Marmosets, as were a pair of Ververt Monkeys, Blotched Genets, kinkajous, Striped Skunks and a single Lesser Indian Mongoose. On the fort roof built into some circular recesses, which I assume were old gun placements, were three open topped pens. Here they had a friendly pair of Short-clawed Otters, a family group of Racoons and a pair of hand-reared Badgers. On the main roof area were pairs of African Civets and Coatis, a trio of Red Foxes and some ferrets as well as aviaries for the larger birds.

    This is an incomplete list. Does anyone have any recollections of the zoo, what animals did it have and what did they breed? I never visited the zoo after 1974 so have no knowledge of the zoo under its second owner, any information would be of help.

    Many thanks.
     
    Last edited: 16 Oct 2014
  2. Lynpy

    Lynpy New Member

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    Island Zoo Tenby

    I knew Chris and Marion and their youngsters. They sold the zoo to Bob and Jean Thoday who eventually sold it to us, (me and my (now ex) husband), Lynda and Roger Perry. We called it our "Island Zoo" Our marriage broke up and I moved off the island after the first year of ownership. If I can help you with your research, I am happy to do so.

    Regards,

    Lynda Perry
     
  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Pleasure to have you on the site!

    I recommend you attempt to get in contact with members of the Bartlett Society, which is focused on the history of zoological collections.

    The Bartlett Society

    Quite a few members of Zoochat are also Bartlett members - I will draw their attention to this post.
     
  4. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Lynda,

    I did not realise that the zoo had had three different sets of owners. I met the second owners, in 1973 (or was it 1974?) as Chris and Marion were handing over the ownership. After they left the zoo, they had plans of setting up an animal collection elsewhere but could not get planning permission, and still kept a collection of animals at their home in Llanddowror a few miles away. I used to occasionally help look after the animals, otters, marmosets, racoons, coatis, civets and birds of prey.

    I know nothing of the zoo after they left and it would be good to know what animals you had when you were there.

    Many thanks,

    Carl
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2014
  5. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks Dave,

    I have been looking at the Bartlett Society website and they had little on Tenby Zoo on their online archives. I will contact them to see if they have any more information.

    Many thanks,

    Carl
     
  6. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I've given a heads-up to one member of the Bartlett Society whom I am a friend of, as the Society AGM is tomorrow so the message will hopefully be forwarded to other members :)
     
  7. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks, this is good since I was hoping to submit the article to their journal, if they are interested. Many of the small zoos of the 1970's were run by colourful people who had some remarkable animals, and as we are all aware much of this history is being lost.

    Thanks,

    Carl
     
  8. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Very true, sad to say - my interests are not only in taxonomy and natural history, but also historical study as a whole, and it strikes me that many of the people and primary resources pertaining to the zoological and conservation world of the 1960s until the 1990s are passing away or being lost respectively.
     
  9. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    The zoo world is changing, there are still characters although of a different type and zoos in UK are improving in standards of welfare and doing more for conservation.
     
  10. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    I presume you have access to the books written about zoos in the 1970s? There is a little bit about the zoo in "Wildlife '74-6", "Wildlife in Britain" (1976), and "Animals on View" (1977). It also featured in one of Clinton Keeling's "Where The......." books.
     
  11. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    Any article written by your good self I suspect would be more than welcome,in the Society's Journal I will have a word with the Journal editor at the agm,but sure he would welcome it with open arms,although I may not need to speak with him if he reads this post tonight!!!!
     
  12. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    Just dug out Wildlife in Britain, which was written after the Perrys took over. Animals listed are baboons, marmosets, squirrel monkeys, bush babies, macaques, civet, genet, fox, coati, otter, ferret, porcupine, chinchilla, gerbil, rat, guinea-pig, rabbit, St Kilda Sheep, parrots, finches, mynahs, starlings, toucans, Barn Owl, Little Owl, iguanas, Eyed
    Lizard, Plated Lizard, Giant Toad and turtles. A bit vague as to actual species in most cases!
    Animals on View doesn't seem to mention this collection.
     
  13. Parrotsandrew

    Parrotsandrew Well-Known Member

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    It's on pages 154-155, just called "Island Zoo" (ahem, with due respect and not wishing to sound too tetchy, I had checked all three books before I made the above post!). The zoo had over 100 animals, "namely 22 kinds of mammal, 15 of bird and 6 of reptile." Mammals included Stump-tailed Macaques, Otters, a Patas Monkey, Scottish Wild Cats, Marmosets, Civets, Genets and Bushbabies. The birds included a talking Macaw, a Cockatoo and unfortunately for those of us who cannot stand the sight of them, Barn Owls.
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2014
  14. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for your responses. It seems that after Tenby Zoo was run by Chris and Marion Batt the number of species and individuals increased.

    I knew the zoo when I was still a school boy and got to know the then owners and they had such a positive impact upon shaping my own career in animal conservation I felt it was important to write down some of my recollections. Chris Batt was very much an animal man and wanted to specialise upon the breeding of small mammals, and this never happened since the running of the zoo and the needs of their growing family were in conflict. Chris became a teacher and Marion looked after the children and their eccentric collection of animals. They idea of setting up an animal collection never left them and Chris took early retirement from teaching and set up an aquarium and reptile collection in an old Chapel "Silent World".
     
  15. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your kind words, as a student of zoos I feel it is important we document their history and the complex role they play. Tenby zoo was only one of many small seaside zoos, and although not an ideal site the owners I knew were full of idealism and good intention about the role of their zoo. Much of this was somewhat naiive but was perhaps typical of the time.

    As an aspiring zoo professional it gave me the opportunity to work with animals I had only dreamed of.
     
  16. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    @ Carl Jones Spoke with the Bartlett Society Journal Editor yesterday at the AGM,and he and the society would be more than happy,to consider publishing an article written by your good self!
     
  17. Carl Jones

    Carl Jones Well-Known Member

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    Many thanks for facilitating this. I will contact them when I have finished my article.