Posts Tagged ‘Dublin Zoo’

Animal attractions

15 July 2009

By Juliana Adelman

Sealioncub3(1)The Dublin Zoo has recently announced the arrival of a sealion cub, the latest of many births the zoo has had this year.  This announcement made me think of the very different fate of a harbour seal which the institution acquired in 1835.  The unfortunate creature was only expected to live a week.  An advertisement in Saunder’s Newsletter noted that ‘As the life of such an animal in confinement is precarious, persons desirous of seeing it should avail themselves of an early opportunity.’  In the early years of the zoo, preventing animals from dying was an accomplishment in and of itself.  Now, of course, breeding programmes are an important component of most zoos and part of their claims to conservation and thus environmentalism.  Dublin Zoo is historically important in this regard: it began successfully breeding and selling lions in the 1860s.  In 1881 the sale of animals bred in the gardens amounted to almost £500, a substantial portion of the zoo’s income for the year.  The importance of breeding animals in the zoo wasn’t just financial, it also represents a shift in how people thought about exhibited animals.  Read more