Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “Zoo

Winnipeg the Bear, is seen here with Lt. Harry Colebourn when she was the unofficial mascot of a Canadian cavalry regiment; ca.1914


Winnipeg, or Winnie, (24 August 1914 – 12 May 1934) was the name given to a female black bear that lived at London Zoo from 1915 until her death in 1934.

She was bought as a small cub for $20 (probably from the hunter who had shot her mother) at a stop in White River, Ontario, by Lt. Harry Colebourn of The Fort Garry Horse, a Canadian cavalry regiment, en route to the Western Front during the First World War. The bear was smuggled into Britain as an unofficial regimental mascot. Lt. Colebourn, the regiment’s veterinarian, named her after his home city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Before leaving for France, Colebourn left Winnie at London Zoo.

Winnipeg’s eventual destination was to have been the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, but at the end of the War, Colebourn decided to allow Winnie to remain at the London Zoo, where she was much loved for her playfulness and gentleness. (From Wikipedia)


The Water Gate Orchestra played for the benefit of the animals at the Washington Zoo, Washington, D.C.; August 8, 1939.


Belle the hippo during the siege of Leningrad, 1943.


“Belle survived the war thanks to her caretaker, Yevdokia Dashina. In 1941 water was turned off throughout the city and Belle’s pool was empty, so her skin began to dry out and crack. Every day, Dashina would drag a 40-liter barrel of water from the Neva river and rub the suffering hippo with camphor oil. Eventually, Belle’s skin healed and she was able to hide underwater through the air raids.” (Source)

*In this case, none of the zoo animals were eaten, but some, like Betty the elephant, died during the air strikes (sad picture warning!) Most of the cats and rats were indeed eaten, unfortunately.

*An adult hippo night should receive from 36 to 40 kg of feed. But during the blockade she ate 4-6 kg of a mixture of herbs, vegetables and press cake, adding there 30 kg filings, just to fill her stomach. (The zoo workers also shared their rations with the animals.) If you see this picture of Belle from 1935 you can tell that she lost a lot of weight. So she probably didn’t have “enough to eat”, but enough not to starve to death.

Feeding polar bears from a tank; ca. 1950

 Russian tanks were designed to be driven with one arm.

“There’s a good bear, now go and maim those Nazis on this other side of this hill.”

This is quite possibly the most Russian photograph ever taken.

Polar bears look really freaking cute, but they’re the only animal that actively predates on humans.

Wolves will give it a long and hard thought about whether they want to attack humans. Polar bears? Nope. If they see you, and you can’t protect yourself or seek shelter, you’re dead.


Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in cage. Lincoln Park Zoo. 1900

I can only imagine how difficult it was to get that guy there without tranquilizers etc.

I can only imagine how difficult it was to get that guy there without tranquilizers etc. (Perhaps a large net?)

Benjamin, the last Tasmanian Tiger, at Beaumaris Zoo in 1933.



The Tasmanian tiger (aka Thylacine/ aka Tasmanian wolf) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times.


[ There have been sightings of Thylacines after the death of the last one in captivity. I’ve been upset about their demise since I was a small child. I hope there are some still alive roaming freely on their native land. I also mourn the loss of the passenger pigeon and hope that a few survive. It’s hard to believe that all of them are gone. Their flocks used to be so huge that it could take a full day or more for the flock to pass overhead. 😦 ]

They’ve been able to successfully complete sequences of mitochondrial thylacine genome. It’s not enough for cloning (you need nuclear DNA, mitochondrial isn’t enough) but it’s a step in the “right” direction.


Okay scientists. I am willing to pay up to $1000 for a pet Thylacine! Get to work!

Video of Benjamin (1933):

(Update: Is the Tasmanian Tiger Alive?)