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What is it like? Jardin des plantes (Menagerie)

Discussion in 'France' started by ChunkyMunky pengopus, 16 Nov 2020.

  1. ChunkyMunky pengopus

    ChunkyMunky pengopus Well-Known Member

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    After making a similar thread for the Berlin zoo, I am also wondering about this very interesting zoo. I have seen may of the pictures and reviews here on ZC, but I was wondering a much more simple question: What is it like? it does not have to be a full review, but rather, a general overview of the feel of the place, along with what could I expect if I visit there, how big is it, or how long does it take to walk through, what the exhibits are like, the style of areas or buildings, and if I should visit. The menagerie seems very unique, having old style exhibits but with much smaller animals than originally. Some of my favorite animals are small mammals and reptiles, so I would very much like to visit one day.
    Berlin zoo thread: What is it like? Berlin zoo
    Schonbrunn zoo : What is it like? Vienna Schonbrunn zoo
    Also, feel free to argue in the chat about Jardin des plantes vs. Paris zoo or even Schonbrunn and Berlin :p
     
  2. Therabu

    Therabu Well-Known Member

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    As an American, visiting the Menagerie will definitely be a deep-dive in the past. Most buidlings, pavements, and old-style metallic fences are classified. With a lack of money and space, smaller species, mainly from Asia and Oceania were selected to live in enclosures, with more or less success.
    Collection-wise, it is interesting with a few rarities at European level (bustards, Pondichery vulture, Indian gaur, several caprids...) . From a welfare point of view, I would say that few exhibits meet today's requirments for large mammals. On the other hand, reptiles and birds are better accommodated.
    The National History Museum have always been a bit short in budget (or it was not used as efficiently as in other institutions) but the new Paris zoo which is huge commercial failure is dragging down the whole institution from a financial point of view. Nowadays, some buildings are closed because they are simply not renovated and dangerous to welcome visitors (one of the reptile house namely). New projects are very limited and slow to implement. For example, it took more than seven years to build the Tasmanian devils exhibit... A new aviary for orang-utans is discussed for several years now.

    Still, if you consider the whole Museum area including the paleontology and the zoology gallery (and more if you're interested in botanics and geology), it is a very special visit. You really feel like coming back to the times of Cuvier, Buffon and Saint Hilaire, and maybe could feel their phantom sitting in front of a cage, analysing, drawing and describing some new exotic specie.
    Both Vienna and Berlin managed to adapt and raise themselves to modern husbandry requirements (most of the time at least) while the Menagerie seems more frozen in the past in my opinion. I would not dare to put it in front of Vienna and even more Berlin since it is much smaller (zoo ground cover only 5 hectares and the visit can be easily done in half-day) but it is a must do for anyone interested in history.
     
  3. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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  4. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    I love the Jardin des Plantes, although I’ve only visited twice, more than thirty years apart. Most of the hoofstock, such as goats, sheep and oryx, are species that do particularly well on hard standing, as it avoids many of the parasite issues they get when kept on grass. There were only two enclosures that left me ‘wondering’:
    *Orangutans outside enclosure completely roofed over. I can see the advantages of keeping them and their furniture dry, but wonder if they would benefit from the experience of being out in rain sometimes?
    *A very old looking, but not unattractive circular aviary covered with a tarpaulin, full of Quaker Parrakeets. Just seemed a bit ‘odd’.
    Otherwise, a beautiful experience, and a zoo where the visitor is ‘touching history’ in a way no longer felt at ZSL.
     
  5. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    The old elephant house was turned into a micrarium, where visitors could see invertebrates under a microscope. It made a nice change
     
  6. Therabu

    Therabu Well-Known Member

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    It was only temporary and this exceptional building is not accessible anymore.
     
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  7. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    I was only able to visit it once. It's a shame it was only temporary. It's a good way to get visitors to see tiny animals that are relatively easy to obtain
     
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  8. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I love the Jardin des Plantes Menagerie; I first visited it in 1981 and have been about a dozen times subsequently. Unfortunately it's five or six years since I was last there but hopefully, once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, I'll be able to visit again.

    The zoo is small, only about fourteen acres in area (approximately a third the size of London Zoo) but it oozes history in a way that no other zoo, with the possible exception of Vienna, does. For anybody seriously interested in zoo history, a visit is essential.

    There's more to the Jardin des Plantes then the menagerie; there is also the excellent zoology museum with both the
    • Grande galerie de l'évolution
    • Galerie de paléontologie et d'anatomie comparée
    being thoroughly recommended.

    Even many of the streets in the vicinity of the Jardin des Plantes are named after famous zoologists which adds to the "atmosphere".
     
  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    This is not really related to the question of the thread but I was just wondering whether anyone thinks the orangutangs may be phased out of the collection in the future once the current ones held pass away ?
     
  10. Valentin

    Valentin Well-Known Member

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    I dont think so. They wouldn't have started an online kitty to build a new enclosure for the orangutans to eventually replace them with another species.

    I saw that the goal of the pot had been partially achieved. What about the project now ?
     
  11. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    So they will eventually build a new enclosure for the orangs ?

    Hmmmm I find it a little disappointing actually as the orang enclosure could be used for so many monkey or lemur species that are in need.
     
  12. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member

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    What is an online kitty?
     
  13. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that one puzzled me too :confused:
     
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  14. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    I assume, given the context, that @Valentin is talking about a are where people can make donations for the exhibit online.

    As for the original question, it is certainly a special place. Doused in history, the newer parts morphing into 18th and 19th Century decor almost seamlessly despite the apparent oddness. It feels almost like a trip into the past were it not for the glass and vibrant terrariums inside the reptile house. I've always been fascinated by the metal railings and cages inside the place - how long they've been in that exact spot and how many species have they held inside them?

    It is similar yet altogether different to Schoenbrunn. Schoenbrunn made me feel as if it had been a menagerie for the royals rather than a menagerie for researchers and zoologists as Paris made me feel - perhaps just the setting, but also the style of the buildings - since while still elaborate and beautiful in their own way, the Paris Menagerie buildings radiate a sense of utility through the veil of decor, while Vienna holds its own charm in the sense that the pavilions and buildings scattered around feel much more out of place when put next to a lion.

    It is a place that, along with its accompanying pair of museums and the Jardin itself, really gives off a unique feeling experience which I have really never felt anywhere else as of yet. That being said, when you look at it from a welfare point of view, somehow ignoring the architecture and amazing ark of species it showcases, the menagerie is rather lacking. Big cats and great apes kept in roofed over exhibits and bovids kept in at times really quite small areas. Make of that what you will.
     
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  15. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    When I went to some of the museums, they still had the old labels written with sepia ink
     
  16. Valentin

    Valentin Well-Known Member

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    Yes that's it I wanted to talk about a web page with a pot but being French my corrector decided to write something else.:oops:
    Sorry.
     
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  17. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    On my first few visits, back in the early 1980s, even the croocodilians, in the Reptile House, were kept behind the original spiked railings.
     
  18. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    If I remember correctly from My last visit the Reptile House is under renovation and the Giant Tortoise indoor closed off (even pre Corona).
     
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