Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/806
786 THE POPULAR SCIUJVCU MONTHLY.
in the antelope inclosure would be a waste of material, and take up room that the animals might otherwise enjoy.
Prof. Flower, the President of the London Zoological Society, in his address on the 16th of June, 1887, to the general meet- ing, made some excellent remarks upon this point when he said that "the old idea of keeping animals in small, cramped cages and dens, inherited from the Tower and traveling wild-beast shows, still lingers in many places. We have a responsibility to our cap- tive animals, brought from their native wilds to minister to our pleasure and instruction, beyond that of merely supplying them with food and shelter. The more their comfort can be studied, and roomier their place of captivity, the more they are sur- rounded by conditions reproducing those of their native haunts, the happier they will be, and the more enjoyment and instruction we shall obtain when looking at them." Then continuing, and referring to the London gardens, he said : " Many of our newest improvements are markedly in this direction. I may especially mention the new inclosure for wild sheep near the lion-house in the South Garden, with its picturesque rock-work and fall of water, and the large aviary for herons and similar birds just com- pleted on what used to be called the Water-Fowls' Lawn."
The writer is convinced of the truth of these words, from his own studies of zoological gardens in this country and abroad.
Again, to show the bad effects of the overcrowding of animals. Prof. Flower further observed, still confining himself to the Lon- don gardens : " The primary habitation of the lions and other large feline animals was the building on the north side of the tunnel, which many of us may remember as a reptile-house, and which has been lately restored as a dwelling-place for the smaller carnivora. The council reports of the period frequently speak of the bad accommodation it afforded to the inmates, the consequent injury to their health, and the disagreeable effects on visitors from the closeness of the atmosphere. In September, 1843, the terrace, with its double row of cages beneath, was completed; and the report of the following spring, speaking of this as ' one of the most important works ever undertaken at the gardens,' congratu- lates the society upon the fact that the anticipations of the increased health of this interesting portion of the collection, resulting from a free exposure to the external air and total absence of artificial heat, had been fully realized. The effects of more air and greater exercise were indeed said to have become visible almost immediately. Animals which were emaciated and sickly before their removal became plump and sleek in a fort- night after, and the appetites of all were so materially increased that they began to kill and eat each other. This, however, led to an immediate increase in their allowance of food, since