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The Zoo is a unique, fascinating, and often amusing, history of London Zoo illustrated with over seventy colour and black and white images. London Zoo had its beginnings in 1826 when Sir Stamford Raffles founded the Zoological Society of London. The Crown had leased part of Regent's Park to the Society and the press excitedly anticipated the coming of the 'ark' to London. The stage was w set for the world's first truly scientific zoo. The Zoo was to have a number of 'celebrity' animals over the years including: a hippopotamus called Obaysch, much visited by Queen Victoria; Winnie, an exceptionally tame bear who gave A.A. Milne the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh's name; and Chi-Chi, the Giant panda, who refused to breed but instead made advances to the eminent zoologist, Desmond Morris! In earlier days, there were some great escapes including that of a bear which ended up face to face with a terrified horse in Regent's Park Outer Circle, and of Cholmondley, a former clothes-wearing, cigarette-smoking pet chimpanzee, who hailed a bus near the Zoo! Some of the more unusual residents included the quagga, passenger pigeon, and thylacine or Tasmanian wolf - w all long since extinct. Jumbo, Ming, Booboo and Jubilee, amongst many others, also have their stories here. In addition, the author recounts the history of Whipsnade Zoo (also founded by the Zoological Society of London). It was a completely different type of zoo and, in common with its forerunner, was the first of its kind in the world. Many people who contributed to the London Zoo over the years are included, such as Bartlett the first superintendent, Peter Chalmers Mitchell and Julian Huxley, Jack Lester, George Cansdale and Desmond Morris. The Zoo is a fascinating history of London Zoo from its precarious beginnings, through the highs and lows - including the threat of closure - to its secure footing today and its setting of ever better standards for zoos around the world. It makes for compelling reading.
'Barrie' Barrington-Johnson has been fascinated by animals and by London Zoo since he was a boy. He studied zoology to BSc level and has been a Fellow of ZSL (Zoological Society of London) since the age of 21. He is one of the original zoo volunteers, a member of the Society's Education Committee and was on the Society's Council for fourteen years. He also chaired the committee which proposed the way forward for London Zoo after the difficult financial period of 1990/1.