The History and Future of Zoos Essay

2638 Words 11 Pages
Zoos present a certain blend of nature and culture. They have always provided a way to bring natural wildlife and urban Americans together as a means of entertainment. Yet, throughout the years the role of zoos have changed. Though once used for amusement, zoos are now being used for education on preservation and the welfare of endangered species. One may wonder where and how the idea of zoos started and just how they, and the environment around them, have changed throughout history.
The concepts of zoos have been around for centuries throughout the world. The earliest known zoo of the pre-modern past was that of Queen Hatshepsut of the Eighteenth dynasty in Egypt in 1400 BC (Graetz). According to the Encyclopedia of world zoos
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But these realizations were a great efforts beginning to wildlife management in America. People began to realize that the amount of wildlife that had been present to the early colonies were not inexhaustible (Deal 2). Those early settlers had no idea how abundant wild fauna in the new land or how to utilize it. It took nearly two hundred years for agriculture to get used to American soil and its wildlife.
Author Vernon Kisling, of Zoo and aquarium history: ancient animal collections to zoological gardens makes a great statement: “Cultural institutions, such as zoos, change like the cultures that foster them” (Kisling 163). For modern zoos, they were said to have begun in London in the 1820s with London’s Regent Park Zoo (Graetz). These modern zoos, as well as those in Germany, began to take the place of royal menageries and set examples for the American culture. The first zoo to be built in America was established in Philadelphia in 1874 (Philadelphia zoo). During the time that America was transitioning from an agricultural nation to an industrial one.
Before the grand opening of America’s first zoo, people would gather and pay shillings to see animals such as lions and elephants displayed at places like general stores and museums. Though the zoo was prepared to open in 1859 was set back fifteen years due to the Civil War. Finally, In the mid-1850's, a well known Philadelphia physician, Dr. William Camac-the zoo's founding father-became involved and led…