Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, The (Images of America)
Joy W. Kraft
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Opening day, September 18, 1875, dawned sunless and chilly, a shaky start for the second zoological garden in the United States. Exhibits were unfinished, and animals remained crated. The polar bear had not arrived, and the collection on display included a feeble tiger, a blind hyena, an elephant rescued from a bankrupt circus, a talking crow, eight small monkeys, and 400 birds. Despite the rough start, the venture by bird-lover Andrew Erkenbrecher and friends blossomed into a top-tier zoo inspiring a passion for nature-a champion of endangered species with its own college-preparatory high school and an unrivaled commitment to education, research, and innovative breeding programs. It has survived The Perils of Pauline economics as stubborn Cincinnatians came to its rescue time after time, charmed by animals and events found here: chimps Mr. and Mrs. Rooney, Susie the Gorilla who took tea and smoked Chesterfields, Rodney the boxing kangaroo, Martha the last passenger pigeon on earth, outdoor operas, and dancing under the stars.
noisy city below, surrounded by coal smoke, poor sanitation, horse manure, and, because of Cincinnati’s position in the pork business, pigs in the streets. But it offered more than an occasional diversion. “The new management then set to work to vigorously stimulate attendance; for experience had taught that no matter how great the collection, something more than the menagerie alone was necessary to keep the public interested,” wrote then-secretary of the society Charles E. McLean early on.
when training chimpanzees fell out of favor, many were abandoned by unethical sideshows and circuses. The lucky ones were found and housed in refuges specifically created for past performers. Trainer Rudy Underwood, shown here with Rudy the chimpanzee, spent five of his 30 years at the zoo training chimpanzees. Rudy the ape was named after Underwood when he was born on the trainer’s birthday, July 15, in the early 1950s. The chimpanzee was later sent to the St. Louis Zoo, and Underwood’s grandson
with fewer than 200 in the wild, have taken place at the zoo, the only place in the world breeding the species successfully. The first calf, born in 2001, was the first born in captivity in 112 years and has since returned to Sumatra. Emi, shown here, who produced three calves, died on September 5, 2009. Success in breeding Sumatran rhinos did not come until the scientists at CREW at the zoo used endocrinology and ultrasonography to unlock the animal’s mysterious physiology. The outcome was
pits by architect James McLaughlin show a 78-foot-long stone structure with three 22-by-24-foot side-by-side compartments, each with two 4-by-6-foot dens, small water pools, and a climbing pole in the center. Steps to the side allow visitors to climb up and view the bears from atop the 12-foot-high enclosures. The design, which changed from a pediment accent on each section to an iron rail accent, was based on the 1868 bear pits, in the photograph below, from a Hamburg zoo with an
Opening Day ceremonies, tossing the first pitch in the late 1990s. Trainer Cecil Jackson Sr. worked two months to teach her to throw the ball instead of eating it. Ganesh, the first elephant conceived and born in Ohio since the Ice Age, created a hoopla on March 15, 1998. Thousands of visitors lined up to get a glimpse of the 3-footer, who weighed in at 213 pounds. Parents were mother Jati, seen with Ganesh in the photograph, and Sabu, both born in the wild. A contest was held to name the