Posts Tagged ‘Russian Zoos’

100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution 7th November 1917

November 7, 2017

Russian WW2 DFV postcard 1942 (3)

Russian Dig For Victory WW2 style (Image Source: Postcard, unknown source)

Posted to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

 

During WW2, as in Britain, many city areas in Russia were dug up and planted to provide food in beseiged towns and elsewhere to support the war effort.

Note the air raid shelter in the centre.

Note also the woman in front who is wearing a medal.

Russian Zoos in wartime – web material

from the All About Zoos website – Moscow Zoo entry

But in the turmoil of the Revolution of 1905 the Moscow Zoo was severely damaged: the buildings were ruined, the library was set on fire, many animals perished. So, for the second time the Society was forced to turn over the Zoo to private owners.

Then in 1914 World War I broke out. For the Zoo this meant that in the autumn of 1914 the only building that remain to this day was transformed from the director’s premises to a hospital for wounded WWI soldiers.

The WWI impact compounded Russia’s suffering from a number of economic and social problems, which resulted first in the 1917 February revolution followed by the October revolution.

In the aftermath of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 and the fall of the Russian Empire, the Society ceased to exist, and in 1919 the Zoological Garden was declared national property and transferred under the responsibility of the ministry of Culture of the communist Moscow parliament, the Mossovet.

In 1922 it was transferred to the authority of Moscow City Council and since then it has been supported by the City Authorities. Construction work began on the Zoo grounds. The Zoological Garden premises almost doubled in size with the establishment of the ‘New’ territory on the opposite side of Bolshaya Gruzinskaya street.

New exhibits, which followed the principle of Carl Hagenbeck’s bar-less enclosure design were established. One of the most interesting exhibits of the Zoo called ‘Animal Island’ still exists. It was a high stony rock surrounded by a deep water ditch that separated the visitors from bears, tigers, lions and other large predators on the ‘Island’. The total size at the time was nearly 18 hectares.

In 1926 the Zoological Garden was renamed ‘Zoological Park’. At that time the range of activities extended, the animal collection increased considerably with expeditions collecting wildlife in Central Asia, the Far East and the Caucasus. New departments were established, focussed on for instance scientific research, education, veterinary science and nutrition. In those same years Moscow Zoo was the first zoo in the world where educational activities were the main priority.

In 1924 the Zoo had established the Young Biologists Club that gathered like-minded young people that joined in real scientific research. Many of them became a Zoo employee. The Club was founded by Petr Manteifel, who also was the pioneer father of the science called ‘zoo biology’. Manteifel and his young biologists discovered a way of artificial breeding sables (Martes zibellina), which were on the verge of extinction due to man’s insatiable pursuit for its expensive fur.

In the 1930s during Stalin’s great purge many members of the Young Biologists Club were arrested accused of spreading anti-soviet propaganda and liberal-minded ideas and having contact with German colleagues at Berlin zoo, some were even executed as foreign spies.

The Young Biologist’s Club was considered a non-governmental organisation beyond the direct control of the authorities, which in fact was partly true because the Club was a real democracy, with membership available to all.

World War 2 – known as ‘The Great Patriotic War’

Although many animals were evacuated and many of the zoo staff were called to arms at the beginning of World War II the Zoo was kept open. Of the 750 employees at autumn 1941 only 220 remained on the staff, most of them women.

Getting enough food for the animals was a constant challenge, for instance carcasses of killed horse at the battlefield around Moscow were brought to the zoo. More than six million people visited the Zoo from 1941 to 1945 to enjoy the sights of animals that had remained.

At wartime the scientific work proceeded, perhaps even more intense than before or after the war. The scientific staff worked especially on development of antibiotics.

But the most important mission of the Zoo during the war was to give people hope. It produced the illusion of a peaceful life until people survived through the desperation of the war with the Red Army soldiers as the most frequent visitors of the Zoo. Which were given the pleasure of watching newborn offspring even during the war.

During the Soviet Union period (1922-1991) not many highly ranked people cared about the zoo – no Soviet leader had any interest in it. The city encroached on the zoo premises, while the zoo needed additional space for the ever expanding zoo population of animals because the breeding results were still excellent …

(Article Information Source: Moscow Zoo website; Zoo with a Human Face, to the 150th anniversary of the Moscow Zoo – a documentary by Darya Violina and Sergei Pavlovsky, 2014; Zoo and Aquarium History by Vernon N. Kisling, Jr., 2001; Wikipedia

 >>Article Source: About Zooshttp://aboutzoos.info

Arguably I think that the biggest tragedy of WW2 that affected zoos was the cutting off of cooperative work and breeding programmes between Cold War zoos in the USSR, Eastern Europe and Russia from the Western Europe, USA and  rest of the world zoos from the 1940s through to the late 1980s.

This was well covered in the morning of talks about the development  of regional and national zoo assocaiations at the 2011 Chester Zoo / Bartlett Society / SHNH / WAZA / Linnean Society Zoo History conference.

It is well covered  in the book  77 Years: The History and Evolution of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums 1935-2012 by  Laura Penn, Mark Gusset and Gerald Dick.

Together again at last …

Posted by Mark Norris, World war Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 7 November 2017.

Advertisements

Moscow and Warsaw Zoo’s history in pictures

February 28, 2017

http://englishrussia.com/2017/02/23/moscow-zoo-in-early-20th-century/

Interesting blogpost in English with pictures from Moscow Zoo’s history including its role in wartime, through revolution and two world wars and floods.

Interesting picture of “Red Army on Field Trip To Aquarium!”

http://moscowzoo.su/about-zoo/history/   available in English

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_Zoo

Staying in eastern Europe in wartime zoos –

mv5bntqxnzmymdqtndu1ms00mwrklwjizwetntfhyzjhymnhzmizl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzq2nzcxotk-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

Shortly in March 2017, The Zookeeper’s Wife film about the amazing Antonina Zabinski and family who ran Warsaw Zoo in Poland during wartime occupation will be released; trailers can be seen at:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1730768/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zookeeper%27s_Wife

Should be an interesting film, although the book by Diane Ackerman is difficult and harrowing to read at times.

The controversial figure of German zoo director Lutz Heck features heavily in this film / story, who left his own account in Animals My Adventure of his own German Zoo in Berlin in an Allied air raid.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutz_Heck

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 28 Feb 2017

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: