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The Evolution of Zoos Research Papers

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The evolution of the zoo in the United States takes us back some 3,500 years to ancient Egypt circa 1490 BC, when Queen Hatshepsut returned from her visit to the “Land of Punt” with a collection of animals that were subsequently put on display to impress her subjects.  Over the course of most of the following 3,480 years or so, the nature of the zoo had not changed much, yet the last thirty years have seen an unprecedented transformation in the very character and nature of zoological parks around the world. The Evolution of Zoos

In what follows, you can learn how to explore the evolution of zoos in the United States, which I conveniently divides into three major phases:

  • “Curiosities on Display,” capturing the first 3,500 years or so in zoo history;
  • “Noah’s Ark Paradigm,” which represents zoo evolution from roughly the early 1970s through the late 20th century;
  • “Global Conservation,” which reviews how progressive zoos have become over only the last few years. 

In your research paper, you should conclude with brief case studies discussing the growth of the Central Park Zoo in New York, and the biggest of them all, the San Diego Zoo.

During the first phase of zoo evolution, zoos were mostly places where strange animals were put on display in cages, with little regard to their well-being, comfort or health.  Following the early Egyptian experiment, history tells us that around 1000 BC the Emperor Wen Wang founded “Ling Yu” – the Garden of Intelligence – a 1,500-acre zoological park in China.  Over the next millennium, many zoos were established throughout North Africa, India and China by rulers and dignitaries as a way of exhibiting one’s wealth and power.  The Greeks were the first to establish public zoos with the intent of displaying animals for recreation and study.  And, while during the dark ages zoos had mostly dies off as a phenomena, they resurfaced beginning in the 15th century as exploration of the New World again uncovered the kind of curiosities people enjoyed looking at.

The traditional form of the modern zoo dates back to the London Zoological Society, opened in Regents Park in London in 1828 by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.  New zoos opened in rapid succession across Europe and North America, first as appendages to city parks, later evolving to stand-alone attractions as their commercial potential was realized.  A migration from the then-dominant cage-only mentality followed in the footsteps of the experiment of Carl Hagenbeck in Hamburg; Mr. Hagenbeck opened the Stellingen zoo in 1907, and was the first to create a zoo without bars, using moats to separate people from animals.

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