Рефераты. San-Diego Zoo

San-Diego Zoo


We humans have had a long association with wild animals. For all but

the last few thousand years of our two million years, we have depended on

them for our very existence. We were hunters in our early days, drifting

along with the game herds, dipping into that seemingly inexhaustible river

of life for our food and clothing. When the herds prospered, we are well;

when hard times came on them, our bellies shrank. So close was our

relationship with wild animals, we called them our brothers.

The Chinese and Egyptians were the first to establish collections of

wild animals. About five thousand years ago, Chinese emperors maintained

animal parks for their private use, usually hunting. The Pharaohs of Egypt

sent expeditions into the interior of Africa to collect animals for royal

menageries. Later, Roman legions sent back wild animals, along with human

slaves, from their conquests. Often these two – animals and humans – ended

up pitted against each other in gladiatorial battles for their captors’


The first true zoo was built in France by Louis XIV, but it was modern

only in comparison with what had existed before. Louis’ wild animals were

housed in champed, dirty cages, often by themselves, and fed food which

rarely approximated their natural diet. Mortality rates were high, but

little attention was given to this; dead animals could be replaced easily

from the rivers of wildlife still flowing in the wilderness.

At the turn of the 20th century the first modern zoo was designed and

built at Stellingen, near Hamburg, Germany. It had a minimum of cages and

barred enclosures; animals were exhibited in large, “natural” surroundings

of artificial mountains, plains and caves, usually with others of their



And now I want to tell you about the most famous zoo in the world –

The San-Diego Zoo.

In Began with a Roar

The San Diego Zoo, established in 1916, was far different from today's

grand; exotic, zoological garden. For the most part, it grew from a small

collection of animals held in traditional circus like cages that formed a

portion of the city's 1915-1916 Panama-California International Exposition

held in Balboa Park. After the close of the Exposition, a San Diego

physician, Dr. Harry Wegeforth, rescued these animals and started the

present Zoo. He would later recall how it all began:

On September 16, 1916, as I was returning to my office after

performing an operation at St. Joseph Hospital, I drove down Sixth Avenue

and heard the roaring of the lions in the cages at the Exposition then

being held in Balboa Park.

I turned to my brother, Paul, who was riding with me, and half

jokingly, half wishfully, said, "Wouldn't it be splendid if San Diego had a

zoo! You know ...I think I'll start one."

Wegeforth's idea, with the help of other interested San Diegans, would

take shape and prosper over the years. Even as a child, growing up in

Baltimore, Maryland, he was fascinated by animals. He regularly staged

"circuses" in his backyard, using toy animals and stitched-together flour

sacks for a "big top" tent. This interest went far beyond normal childish

play, because young Harry had done extensive research on the real-life

behavior and characteristics of his animal menagerie and enthusiastically

explained all of this to visitors at his "performances."

Later on, as an adult, Wegeforth obtained a medical degree and moved

to San Diego in 1908 to set up his practice. The work of building the Zoo,

however, was soon to consume almost all of his time. It was a gamble and a

dream that he lived daily, but a task he relished.

Together with four other men—Dr. Paul Wegeforth, Dr. Fred Baker, Dr.

Joseph H. Thompson, and Frank Stephens—Wegeforth founded the Zoological

Society of San Diego on October 2,1916. In 1921, the City of San Diego

granted the Society its present home in Balboa Park, and, by 1922,

Wegeforth, a few staff members, and a small collection of animals had begun

moving in.

Even at this early date, Wegeforth was promoting a zoo that was

different from most in existence at that time, including demerits that

would, as years passed, result in its being called the "world's greatest

zoo." For example, he envisioned a zoological garden where animals could be

integrated with plants in pleasing settings with no bars or traditional

cages to obstruct a visitor's view. He promoted the idea of grotto and moat

enclosures—something just being tried in European zoos and almost unknown

in America.

While riding around the Zoo grounds on his Arabian stallion, Wegeforth

would map out in his mind the location of exhibits. Mesas would hold hoofed

mammals, reptiles, and birds; the canyons would be reserved for bears and

cats. In Johnny Appleseed fashion, he scattered and planted seeds for the

new plants he desired. Roads that were laid out for the first bus tours are

still used today.

To supplement the initial group of animals gathered from the Balboa

Park Exposition, Wegeforth made collecting trips to other countries and

other zoos, both here and abroad. His aggressive style of exchanging local

animals, such as rattlesnakes and California sea lions, for more exotic

species soon earned him the title of "Trader Wegeforth." Other animals were

donated to the Zoo from private individuals or Navy ships that docked in

San Diego and brought "gifts" to Dr. Harry's Zoo.

Through personal vision, determination, his own financial

contributions, and those of others, Harry Wegeforth created the San Diego

Zoo. To the uninformed observer of the time, it might have seemed that he

realized his dream from almost nothing. Indeed, some of the early exhibits

were built from castoffs and discards from other construction projects —

things that he could acquire for free4 much as he had built his play

menageries as a child. He cajoled local wealthy citizens to help him by

arousing their' concern for the animals and their city pride. One of his

greatest benefactors was newspaper heiress Ellen Browning Scripps, who, by

the time of her death, had donated some quarter of a million dollars to the


Wegeforth's concern about animal nutrition and health is additionally

noteworthy. While not trained as a veterinarian, he nonetheless applied his

medical knowledge to the care of Zoo animals and brought in others trained

to assist him in this work. This care was reflected in the Zoo's low animal

mortality figures.

One day a tiger, writhing in pain with what his keepers suspected to

be intestinal problems, needed immediate treatment. As a result of his

condition, they considered him too dangerous to rope and tie down for

examination (this was an era before the tranquilizer dan gun). Wegeforth

sized up the situation and entered the animal's enclosure with a handful of

beneficial tablets. The animal crouched, made ready to leap, and opened his

gaping jaws to unleash a ferocious roar. At that instant Wegeforth tossed

several of the pills into his mouth. Surprised at this action, the tiger

backed off momentarily, swallowing the medicine. Not one to back down, the

tiger again gathered himself in a crouch, opened his cavernous mouth, and

prepared to pounce. Once more Wegeforth administered the medicine, and this

time the animal retired to his water basin to wash down the irritating

pills. Such examples of Wegeforth's "make do" philosophy of animal medicine

made for popular conversation among early Zoo employees.

In April of 1927, just over ten years after the Zoo's founding, he

succeeded in opening the Zoological Hospital and Biological Research

Institute, a major contribution to the further achievements of the San

Diego Zoo. This facility was yet another gift from Miss Scripps.

The Zoo Lady

Also in 1927, the Zoological Society hired its first executive

secretary, Mrs. Belle Benchley, an individual who would share Wegeforth's

dream and assist him with his goals and plans. She had come to the

organization as a bookkeeper in 1925, but soon proved so adept that

Wegeforth began using her as his primary assistant. Among other things, he

encouraged her to be the Zoo's public relations spokesperson, speaking at

civic luncheons—a job she did reluctantly at first but soon mastered. Her

work earned her high praise over the years, and following Wegeforth's death

in 1941, she took over management of the Zoo.

It was in large part due to Mrs. Benchley that the San Diego Zoo began

to achieve a national, even worldwide, prominence. Her books about life at

the Zoo, published during the 1940s, made many new friends for the

organization. They included My Life in a Man-made Jungle (1940), My Friends

the Apes (1942), My Animal Babies (1945), and Shirley Visits the Zoo

(1946). Mrs. Benchley's continued care and concern for the Zoo animals'

welfare prompted one zoo expert to remark that the San Diego Zoo was "the

only zoo in the world that is run for the animals."

Among Mrs. Benchley's more famous accomplishments was the arrival at

the Zoo in 1949 of Albert, Bata, and Bouba, a male and two female western

lowland gorillas from French West Africa. All less than a year old, these

gorilla babies captured the hearts of San Diegans, who lined up by the

hundreds to see them. Their first day on exhibit a crowd of some 10,000

arrived, setting a new Zoo attendance record.

The Schroeder Years

Following the retirement of Mrs. Benchley in 1953, Dr. Charles

Schroeder became director of the Zoological Society in January of 1954. He

was the Zoo's first leader with a scientific background in animal care. Dr.

Schroeder received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Washington

State University in 1929 and had initially been hired at the Zoo as a

veterinarian/ pathologist in 1932. But, as he often recalled, he performed

many other duties as well, such as taking photographs to sell to visitors

as postcards.

It was through Dr. Schroeder's vision and persistence that the San

Diego Zoo's sister facility, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, came into

existence and later opened to the public in 1972. As director of the Zoo

until 1972, he was also responsible for many other now well-known Zoo

attractions, including the Skyfari aerial tramway, the Children's Zoo, and

the moving sidewalk or escalator. He further increased the Zoo's commitment

to research and remodeled its hospital.

It was also during this period that the local television show

"Zoorama" was created, with its first airing in January 1955. Later

syndicated nationally, the program brought the San Diego Zoo into the homes

of millions of viewers across the nation.

Into the Present

The history of the San Diego Zoo in recent years has been one of a new

awareness of the role of zoos in our world. Under the able leadership of

new directors and members of the board of trustees, the Zoo has become

increasingly concerned with captive breeding and the conservation of

wildlife. Consequently, a number of conservation projects have been

established, both at the Zoo and Wild Animal Park as well as elsewhere

around the world. The first international conference on the role of zoos in

conservation was hosted by the San Diego Zoo in 1966, during the

celebration of the Zoo's 50th birthday. In addition, the Zoological Society

presented its first conservation awards that year.

Perhaps the most outstanding of the Zoo's conservation projects has

been the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES). Launched in

1975 as an intensive research effort to improve the health and breeding

success of exotic animals, CRES is dedicated to its primary goal of helping

endangered species of animals reproduce and survive, both in captivity and

in the wild.

Some of the achievements CRES is most proud of have included

gratifying reproductive successes with cheetahs, Indian and southern white

rhinoceroses, and Przewalski's wild horses.


Eurasia is the largest land mass on earth, stretching halfway around

the globe from the British Isles to the Pacific Ocean, and from the Bering

Sea south to the tip of Malaysia, an area of 54 million sq km (21

million:sq -л»ХА few of its animal species, especially those in the north,

are closely related to, and in some instances are the same as, those of

North America.

Relatively recently, as earth time is measured, Eurasia was linked to

America by a land bridge which spanned what is now the Bering Straits. This

causeway existed for thousands of years during the Ice Ages, when much of

the earth's water was locked up in glaciers, thus lowering sea level.

Animals crossed back and forth between the two continents on the land

bridge, and the first human settlers in America probably arrived via this


About ten thousand years ago, the latest in a series of ice ages came

to an end. The ice melted; the seas rose, and the Bering land bridge was

submerged. Animal species which had wandered west into Eurasia or east to

America were isolated from their native homelands. But because ten thousand

years is a mere eye wink in evolutionary timekeeping, very few changes have

had time to take place in these exiles. For example, the largest member of

the deer family lives in the taiga of both Eurasia and America. In Eurasia

it is called an elk, in America, a moose. But it is one and the same

animal. This is also true of another deer, the caribou, or reindeer. The

former is a wild animal of America; the latter has been domesticated for

centuries by the Lapps of northern Europe.

The Bering land bridge was probably responsible for the survival of at

least one species — the horse. This animal originated in the western

hemisphere, where it developed from a tiny, three-toed creature, to the

form very much like the one we know today. During the Ice Ages, it migrated

across the land bridge into Asia, where it thrived. In America the horse

became extinct and didn't reappear here until the Spaniards brought it back

as a domesticated animal in the 16th century.

The Spanish horses, as are all domestic breeds, were descendants of

the wild horses which migrated from America. That original breed still

exists. It is called Przewalski's horse, named for the naturalist who first

brought specimens to Europe from the grasslands of Mongolia. This is the

only true wild horse left in the world. All other so-called "wild" horses

are feral animals, that is, horses descended from domestic animals which

escaped from or were released by their owners. Przewalski's horses once

existed in large herds, but human intrusion into their habitat pushed them

farther and farther back into a harsh environment where even these tough

animals could not survive.

They were last seen in the wilderness in 1967. Fortunately breeding

groups existed in zoos and reserves. Captive propagation brought the

population up to about 700 by 1985, and four dozen Przewalski's horses have

been born at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Several

of the Zoological Society's Przewalski's horses are on breeding loans to

other zoos.

The Eurasian bison, called a wisent, is closely related to the

American bison. Although never so numerous as the American member of the

species, wisent used to roam the forests which covered western Europe.

Centuries of cutting destroyed all but a small remnant of these forests and

came within 17 animals of exterminating the wisent. A captive breeding

program saved them and today a few hundred live in the Bialowieza Forest in

eastern Poland. The San Diego Zoo has produced 25 calves.

If the felling of Europe's forests meant the destruction of many wild

animal species, it worked to the advantage of others. Deer, for instance,

have thrived and live from the British Isles eastward. Red, roe and fallow

deer live in western Europe, sika deer in Japan. Pere David's deer,

formerly a native of marshy areas in central China, is extinct in the wild.

It exists only in zoos and reserves.

The hedgerows of western Europe house many small animal species. There

are foxes, rabbits, hares, badgers, ferrets, squirrels and birds. These and

other animals have adapted to life in a human-dominated environment.

Starlings and sparrows, for example, do so well that they are considered

"pest" birds. Until recently, one of Europe's largest birds, the white

stork, even nested in the smaller towns and villages. The bird was

considered a symbol of good luck, and home-owners built platforms on

rooftops for its nests. This practice is no longer common and the stork

avoids the towns.

The most regal of Eurasia's raptors is the golden eagle, and the bird

has figured in history for centuries. Its image was carried by Roman

legions as they conquered much of the continent. During the Middle Ages,

lesser members of royalty were free to use other raptors for falconry, but

the eagle was reserved for the king. Today, in more remote parts of Asia,

the golden eagle is used to hunt wild goats, gazelles, foxes, and wolves.

The bird occurs in the United States, where it is under federal protection.

It can be seen in San Diego's back country and often is observed soaring

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