The Landscape Guide

Zoological Gardens

The origin of zoos is similar to that of botanical gardens. They began as areas of imparked land in which kings and emperors made collections of exotic beasts. The Romans kept animals for use in arenas and wealthy individuals kept animals as curiosities. The practice of maintaining animals collecstions fell into decline when the Roman Empire fell.

Modern zoo keeping is generally dated to the foundation of the Imperial Menagerie at Schonbrunn Palace but the Zoological Society of London claims to have founded the first scientific animal collection in 1828.

In recent years there has been public opposition to zoos on animal welfare grounds. The alternatives are:

  • watch the animals on film or video
  • visit the countries in which the animals are native