August 2017 Speaker
Baddow & Galleywood U3A were pleased to welcome Rebecca Perry, Director of Conservation at Colchester Zoo who gave us a very informative talk on the history of zoos. The formation of zoos probably started thousands of years ago as illustrated by Egyptian hieroglyphics of elephants and other large wild animals. More recently kings such as Henry I and Henry III had menageries, keeping elephants, giraffes and other wild animals, in their royal parks.
London zoo was originally situated in the Tower of London and there is still evidence of the areas where the lions were housed. Rumour has it that a polar bear used to swim in the river Thames many years ago. The Tower of London’s menagerie moved to Regents Park in 1848.
Originally zoos were only open on Sundays and people who visited them had to arrive in their best attire, so the zoos were establishments for the elite.
After WW2 almost every town had a zoo, but as the animals were caged, many people felt this was very cruel, and this was the time when Safari Parks came into being where animals were in a more natural environment.
Nowadays most zoos concentrate on conservation and education. Colchester Zoo has a very active breeding programme and many of their offspring are sent all over the world, especially to Europe and Africa to help increase the numbers of the endangered species. Colchester has 38 species on their breeding programme and people visiting the zoo are encouraged to interact with the animals under the supervision of the staff.
Despite the atrocious wet weather about 50 members braved the rain puddles and enjoyed a very interesting afternoon and we were delighted to donate Rebecca’s fee to ‘Action for the Wild’. Further information on Baddow & Galleywood U3A can be obtained from BGmembership15@gmail.com.