Kids in a cage: 154 years of the Moscow ZooBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/kids-in-a-cage-154-years-of-the-moscow-zoo
On February 12, 1864, the Imperial Russian Society for the Acclimatization of Animals and Plants founded a zoo in Moscow. The initiator of the foundation of the zoo, Russian zoologist Anatoly Bogdanov called it "a living museum in the open air." The Moscow Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe.
The area where the old part of the zoo is now located was called Presnensky Ponds — the Presnya River flowed here, Muscovites liked to walk in the meadows and gardens adjacent to it. It is believed that this particular site was chosen for the zoo because it was located at an accessible distance for all Muscovites.
At the time of opening, guests of the zoo could see 134 specimens of domestic animals, 153 specimens of wild animals and birds and seven specimens of reptiles. The animals were mostly of those found in Russia, but there were also exotic animals — a pair of lions, two tigers, a jaguar, a leopard, a rhinoceros and an alligator.
Main entrance, 1920s. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Many animals were given to the zoo by various important personalities. The Indian elephant, for example, was presented by Tsar Alexander II, and the zebra was presented by the Egyptian ruler Ismail Pasha.
General view of the zoo, 1860s. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
After the revolution, the zoo was nationalized, and in 1927 it became known as a zoo.
An elephant presented by Emperor Alexander II, 1870. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
The zoo also worked during the Great Patriotic War, from 1941 to 1945 it was visited by more than six million people. Many zoo staff took care of the animals, even when bombs fell on the park: they plugged the broken windows with blankets, comforted the frightened animals. The zoo's website says that some spouses of Zakusillo stayed with the animals, even when they saw that their house caught fire from the impact of an incendiary bomb.
Pond with a boat station, the end of the XIX century. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
In the 70s and 80s, due to funding problems, the zoo began to deteriorate. The zoo's website says that "frogs fell from the terrarium on the second floor onto the heads of Amur tigers living on the first floor."
The Bear House, 1912. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
In the 90s, the situation changed, the reconstruction of the zoo began, many new animals were brought there. The reconstruction has not been completed yet: it is planned to build an aquarium, a terrarium, an educational center, a theater of animals and a dolphinarium.
The flooded garden, 1913. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Today, the zoo hosts many different excursions — among them, for example, an excursion about animals that no one likes (a raven, a cockroach, a ferret), and night excursions. There is a circle of a young biologist and a circle of "Manulyata" for smaller children. By choosing an animal and signing a contract for charitable assistance, you can become a guardian.
Feeding roe deer, 1920s. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Riding children on camels, 1924. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Construction of the Island of Beasts, 1924. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Excursion to the aquarium, 1930s. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Donkey and pony riding, 1930s. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Photo: Vera Chaplina archive.
Lunch at the site of the young. A slide from the series "Shaggy Kindergarten", 1937. Photo: Vera Chaplina archive.
A slide from the series "Shaggy Kindergarten", 1937. Photo: Vera Chaplina archive.
1944. Photo: Anatoly Garanin / RIA Novosti.
Visitors to the Moscow Zoo at the enclosure with a lion, 1944. Photo: Anatoly Garanin / RIA Novosti.
Entrance to the zoo, 1947. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
Skating circle, 1950s. Photo: archive of the Moscow Zoo.
A raccoon during a medical examination, 1970. Photo: A. Lobov / RIA Novosti.
Moscow Zoo. Checking the teeth of a tapir, 1973. Photo: Alexander Ustinov / RIA Novosti.
Swans in the big pond of the Moscow Zoo, 1970. Photo: Minkevich / RIA Novosti.
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