For anybody interested in zoo history, the topic of which animal species have been maintained in certain zoological gardens over the years is a perpetually fascinating one. “Did zoo x ever keep such-and-such a species?” is a frequent question on online zoo chat forums. "When did the species first arrive? When did the species leave the collection?" Unfortunately these are not easy questions to answer. Historically zoos have not always kept good records, especially with regards to the lower vertebrates and invertebrates, and animal deaths are frequently not publicised at all. Even when records have been kept, going back many years, this information is often not published or made freely available to anybody outside the zoo in question. Even today, it seems that only a comparatively small number of zoos worldwide publish an annual inventory of their animal collection; and zoos hardly ever – if ever – publish a complete inventory of every species they have ever had, with dates. So it is that the Bartlett Society has made a start in attempting to remedy this situation.
It will be a gradual process. No doubt, as more lists are added, they will reveal some surprises as well as showing the changing trends in our zoos. Animal species go out of fashion as much as anything else does. The lists are not perfect. Inevitably there are omissions, vagueness in dates, and occasional errors. If you spot a mistake, or think you can help fill any of the gaps, please do let us know. We would be pleased to hear from you. If anybody has compiled a historic animal inventory of their own favourite or local zoo, we would be delighted to receive it and, with the consent of the zoo in question, publish it here.
Cotswold Wildlife Park (compiled by Louise Peat)
NB: Species marked with an asterisk are currently kept in the collection
Jersey Zoo (compiled by Russell Tofts)
Marwell Wildlife (compiled by Russell Tofts)