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Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo

Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo (Hardback)

£25.50
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Synopsis

To modern sensibilities, 19th-century zoos often seem to be unnatural places where animals led miserable lives in cramped, wrought-iron cages. Today zoo animals, in at least the better zoos, wander in open spaces that resemble natural habitats and are enclosed, not by bars, but by moats, cliffs, and other landscape features. In this text, Nigel Rothfels traces the origins of the modern zoo to the efforts of the German animal entrepreneur Carl Hagenbeck. By the late-19th century, Hagenbeck had emerged as the world's undisputed leader in the capture and transport of exotic animals. His business included procuring and exhibiting indigenous peoples in highly profitable spectacles throughout Europe and training exotic animals - humanely, Hagenbeck advertised - for circuses around the world. When in 1907 the Hagenbeck Animal Park opened in a village near Hamburg, Germany, Hagenbeck brought together all his business interests in a revolutionary zoological park, one that moved wild animals out of their cages and into "natural landscapes" while also showing "primitive" peoples from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the islands of the Pacific in constructed villages and other environments.

Hagenbeck had invented a new way of imagining captivity: the animals and people on exhibit appeared to be living in the wilds of their native lands. By looking at Hagenbeck's multiple enterprises, this work demonstrates how seemingly enlightened ideas about the role of zoos and the nature of animal captivity developed within the essentially tawdry business of placing exotic creatures on public display. Rothfels aims to provide much-needed historical perspective on the nature of our relationship with the animal kingdom.

History & PoliticsHistory: specific events & topicsNatural World & The EnvironmentThe natural world, country life & petsZoos & wildlife parks Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press Publication Date: 01/08/2002 ISBN-13: 9780801869105  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 3-5 weeks.  

Nigel Rothfels received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He is an independent scholar and director of the Edison Initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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