In light of the recent decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lift the ban on importing “sport” hunted trophies of elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia, it seems that a short overview of some recent worthwhile books about elephants is in order – in case any readers of The Well-read Naturalist should find themselves […]
What is the purpose of a zoo? Is it a place offering its visitors to opportunity to view animals from far off lands? Is it a public space where people can gather, perhaps for events such as concerts of simply to meet for a few hours of relaxation? Is it a research institution where the […]
Zoos are amazing places. At their best, the modern forms mix research and spectacle into a melange that has the power to both entertain as well as enlighten. At their worst… well, let us not dwell on that at present. And as to their history; in their previous existence as menageries and indeed, right up into living memory, some have not only been institutions of scientific study, but but also centers of far more social and political influence than we would likely think possible today.
I opened the just-arrived volume 38, number 24 of the London Review of Books to find Mary Wellesley’s “No looking at my elephant;” which takes Caroline Grigson’s “Menagerie: The History of Exotic Animals in England 1100-1837” as its subject.