Saturday, January 19, 2008

Frankln Park Zoo - Animals Arriving

Boston Daily Globe May 5, 1912

Jungle Dwellers For The Zoo

Two Grizzly, Two Cinnamon and Two Black Bears Expected from the Yellowstone National Park for the Boston Collection of Wild Animals, Water Fowl and Beautifully Plumed Foreign Birds.

Large Flocks Of Game Birds Given by John E. Thayer.

Donations of animals and birds to the city of Boston for its new zoo at Franklin Park have been so frequent and so liberal up to date that it begins to look as if Curator John T. Benson of the zoo will have a good-sized collection of beasts to put in their proper places when the time rolls around for the official opening of the animals' and birds' new quarters.

Mr Benson has been much pleased with the immediate recognition which had been given the new institution by prominent collectors and naturalists all over the country. Not only friends of Boston alone, but many others interested in the spread of appreciation of the wonders of natural science have expressed a desire to do their part, no matter how small, and to aid in suggestions for the keeping of the mammals in not in personal donations.

"The fame of the new zoo and reports of our preparations for it," said Mr Benson in speaking of the interest that is being taken, "have already spread far and wide, so much so that I begin to think people in the other parts of the country have heard more about it than have Boston people. I have been receiving letters from prominent persons of different States, some of them in the West, all of whom have congratulated me, as the representative of the city, on the new departure, and have sought information. The immediate success of the enterprise is assured."

Meanwhile Curator Benson is doing what he can to hurry along the work of construction of the future homes of the animals and birds, viz, the bear dens, the flying cage and the service room for the reception of the live stock. No exact date for opening has been set. This will depend largely on the rapidity with which the work progresses from now on. Up to this time the laborers have been hampered often by difficulties imposed by the weather, yet the buildings have already taken definite shape.

While waiting for the completion of their Summer quarters the beasts are being temporarily housed in cages and pens built expressly for the purpose. Great care has been exercised in their keeping during the Winter months and every advantage has been offered them.

Perhaps the largest collection of any kind that has yet been presented to the Zoo and delivered to the keeper is that of water fowl, given by John E. Thayer of Lancaster, the well-known ornithologist and collector. The donation of this collection stands as another of the many public services which Mr Thayer has rendered along the line of natural science.

The group presented comprises a very large number of aquatic birds, many of them rare specimens, a collection the gathering of which undoubtedly required many years of patience. There are not only strange birds from other parts of the United States and Canada, but also several from foreign countries, such as Australia, Japan and China.

Specimens contained in the collection include pairs of comb geese, semipalmated geese, widgeon, tree ducks, shoveler ducks, ruddy sheldrakes, red heads, pintails, Egyptian geese and snow geese. Altogether a fine group of water fowl to start with.

With these are being kept six beautiful white swans which were given to the city by Howard Marston. These handsome birds occupy a prominent place in the whole collection.

A good start has also been made in the animal department. The first donation was that of a fine black bear, made by Newton Newkirk of Boston. The animal has been enjoying himself during the Winter in the recesses of a private dun which is kept in the Franklin Park yard. This present was followed by the gift of a young alligator and another of a Gila monster, a member of the lizard family. The givers of these withheld their names.

Still more recent has been the donation of a rare tortoise by Dr James B. Thornton of the Back Bay. This creature is known as a wood tortoise and its habitat is in the Southern climes, particularly in islands of the West Indies.

It came into the Dr Thornton's possession in a very peculiar way. One day when he was driving through Fenway in an automobile he saw the animal crossing the road at a rapid rate. He captured it and took it home, keeping it there during the Winter in a small cage which he made for it. The animal made a splendid pet, he states. It arose with the rest of the family in the morning, took its meals about the same time and usually went off to bed about 2 in the afternoon. In cold weather it crawled off into the darkness for days at a time.

An addition to the above collection of mammals is expected in a short time from the National Government, which has expressed its intention of taking some of the animals in Yellowstone National Park and transporting them to the Boston Zoo, there to have their habitation. This group will probably include four grizzly bears, two cinnamon bears and two blacks.

Curator Benson has received intimations that donations are to come from several other sources, and the fact has been well manifest that outsiders as well as the people of Boston are deeply interested in the success of the new zoo.

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