The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 17 Marylebone, Regent's Park, Zoological Gardens

Zoological Gardens 3

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We return to the Aquarium entrance and turning to the left, behind the Mappin Terraces, visit the Western Aviary, which contains laugning kingfishers, bower-birds and weaver-birds (with their curious nests), talking mynahs, piping crows, red-headed cardinals, rare grey kagus, slender-necked sun-bitterns, etc. The temporary building beyond the aviary was erected for a 'sacred' white elephant and its attendants. The adjacent Experimental Monkey House, opened in 1924-25, is specially interesting. Here the animals have access at will from an open-air enclosure to an open-air verandah and an inner chamber, both heated in cold weather with radiant heat and ultra-violet light rays. The Monkey Hill allows room for exercise and is provided with a pond for bathing, covered ledges, and a shelter cave with radiant heat. We turn to the left for the Mappin Terraces, built of reinforced concrete in 1913-14 (through the generosity of Mr. J. Newton Mappin), to exhibit animals in enclosures where ditches and undercut rockwork take the place of iron bars. At the lower end is a refreshment pavilion, in front of which is a pool with flamingoes. Beyond are musk oxen and mouflon; in the tier above, the bears' den; higher still are the goat-hills, with ibexes, Barbary sheep, etc. Among the bears are two black bears ('Teddy' and 'Dick'), regimental mascots brought by Canadian troops; another ('Winnie') brought from Canada by Princess Patricia; and several Himalayan, Russian, and Syrian bears. Most of them will beg for food and some sit up in very amusing attitudes. The keeper will afford closer views of the tamer bears, including not unfrequently the cubs of the Russian brown bears 'Nellie' and 'Bogie.' In the east den are three fine Polar Bears ('Sam,' 'Barbara,' and 'Lizzie'). Beneath is a room with windows affording a view of the polar bears swimming under water (most frequently circa 3 p.m.). To the east of the terraces is the Southern Aviary, containing gulls, herons, cormorants, and storks, and just beyond is the Sea Lions' Pond, especially popular at feeding-time. The keeper will sometimes provide fish at other times also (fee). To the north of this pond is the Stork & Ostrich House, containing marabou storks (the long tail-coverts of which are the genuine marabou plumes), jabirus (with air-pouches in the neck), adjutant birds, secretary birds (which kill reptiles with their feet and knobbed wings), etc.