Jersey Zoo: Doubtful species


During the course of my research, I have come across cursory, vague or ambiguous references to a number of other species having been kept at Jersey Zoo, but for which I can find no confirmation, and must therefore conclude that the original source was inaccurate or misleading, for reasons given below:-



Macropus eugenii      Dama Wallaby
In its annual Census of Rare Animals (for 1968), the International Zoo Year Book vol. 9  states that Jersey Zoo had 1.2 specimens at that time. Since I can find no other reference anywhere to Jersey Zoo ever having held this species and as the IZYB does not list it for Jersey Zoo in previous or subsequent years, I am forced to conclude it is almost certainly an error.

Sorex minutus      Eurasian Pygmy Shrew
The only reference to Pygmy Shrews at Jersey zoo is to be found in "The Penguin Guide to British Zoos" (Penguin Books, 1970) by Geoffrey Schomberg, but it is extremely unlikely the zoo had the species. Pigmy Shrews are exceedingly difficult to keep in captivity, owing to their insatiable appetite, and make poor exhibits that do not really justify the time and effort expended to keep them. Furthermore, the species is not mentioned in any Jersey Zoo annual report, newsletter or unpublished stock list, and no staff member I've spoken to can remember Pygmy Shrews. I'm inclined to believe there was an error at the proof stage of Schomberg's book. He probably originally wrote  "tree shrew" (which were definitely kept at that time)" and, owing to a printer's error, it became "pigmy shrew".     

Epomophorus sp.      Epauletted Fruit Bat sp.
A species brought back by Gerald Durrell from an animal-collecting expedition to what was then the British Cameroons (now Cameroon) in 1957, about 18 months before Jersey Zoo opened, when Durrell was amassing the founding stock for his future zoo. I can, however, find no record of the species at Jersey Zoo. Possibly it/they died before the zoo was built or went to another zoo such as Paignton Zoo.  

Galagoides alleni      Allen's Galago
I found a brief allusion to Allen's Galago having been kept at Jersey Zoo in the early 1960s, but as I can find no other mention anywhere of this animal/these animals, I am inclined to believe it referred to a different species of galago (bushbaby), such as the Senegal or Demidoff's, that was kept there at that time.

Cheirogaleus medius      Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur
This species has never, to the best of my knowledge, been kept at Jersey Zoo, although two sources I consulted suggested that it had. It seems that initially the Greater Dwarf Lemurs (C. major), a species that arrived in 1974, were misidentified as C. medius.

Chlorocebus tantalus      Tantalus Monkey
It seems Tantalus Monkeys, mentioned in very early records, may have been misidentified Vervet Monkeys (C. pygerythrus).

Saccostomus campestris      Cape Pouched Mouse
A single Cape Pouched Mouse was brought back from southern Africa by Jersey Zoo staff member (and later Deputy Director, Zoological Director and, ultimately, Director) Jeremy Mallinson as part of a live animal-collecting expedition in 1961/62. I cannot find any record of this animal at Jersey Zoo, however, leading me to the conclusion it went to another collection.

Pedetes capensis      Springhare/Springhaas
As above, a single Springhare was brought back from southern Africa by Jeremy Mallinson as part of a live animal-collecting expedition in 1961/62. I cannot find any record of this animal at Jersey Zoo, and it was probably sent to another collection.

Graphiurus crassicaudatus dorotheae      Cameroon Bushy-tailed or Jentink's Dormouse
A number of African Dormice were brought back from the British Cameroons (as the country was called then) by Gerald Durrell in 1957, 18 months before Jersey Zoo was founded. They were among the original nucleus of animals he was collecting for his long-planned-for zoo. However, I have found no mention of the species at Jersey Zoo. Rodents, on the whole, are relatively short-lived, so it is highly probable they died in the interim or else were deposited at another zoo, possibly Paignton.

Dolichotis patagonum      Patagonian Cavy (Mara)
I did find an ambiguous reference to the arrival of Paragonian Cavy at Jersey Zoo in 1959. However, I can provide no confirmation, and a stock list I found for August 1959 does not mention the species, neither does the next stock list I have (for March 1961).

Potos flavus      Kinkajou
The 1st Annual Report (1964) mentions the arrival of a single Kinkajou. However, the scientific name given is that of the Olingo or False Kinkajou (Bassaricyon alleni). No stock list from those early days mentions the "true" Kinkajou at all, but the zoo did have two Olingos in its collection at that time, so I strongly believe the animal mentioned in the 1st Annual Report is an Olingo.

Gulo gulo      Wolverine
In its annual Census of Rare Animals (for 1962), the International Zoo Year Book vol. 4 states that Jersey Zoo had 1.1 specimens at that time. Since I can find no other reference anywhere to Jersey Zoo ever having held this species and as the IZYB does not list it for Jersey Zoo in previous or subsequent years, I am forced to conclude it is most likely an error. 

Leopardus tigrinus      Oncilla
I have found a single reference to the arrival in 1961 of Oncilla. I can provide no confirmation of this, nor have I found any other reference sources that state Jersey Zoo once kept this rare and little-known species of feline, so for the moment we must consider it doubtful that the species was once seen at Jersey Zoo.

Neofelis n. nebulosa      Clouded Leopard
In its annual Census of Rare Animals (for 1962), the International Zoo Year Book vol. 4 states that Jersey Zoo had 1.1 specimens at that time. Since I can find no other reference anywhere to Jersey Zoo ever having held this species and as the IZYB does not list it for Jersey Zoo in previous or subsequent years, I am forced to conclude it is most likely an error. The pair could, of course, have been kept for a very short time and then moved on.

Tree Hyrax sp.
I have found an allusion the arrival in 1962 of Tree Hyrax. I can provide no confirmation of this, and it seems unlikely that the species was once seen at Jersey Zoo.

Hyemoschus aquaticus      Water Chevrotain
A species that is very rarely seen in captivity. When Gerald Durrell was in what was then called the British Cameroons in central Africa in 1957, he obtained a young female Water Chevrotain. This animal is described in his book, A Zoo in My Luggage. The animals that were collected on this expedition eventually formed the nucleus of the Jersey Zoo some eighteen months or so later. However, I can find no reference to a Water Chevrotain at Jersey Zoo. I have seen an animal stock list dated 22 August 1959 (i.e. compiled about five months after the Zoo opened) and the species is not listed there.  It is, of course, quite conceivable that its stay at Jersey Zoo was very short, and by August of 1959 it had already died or been moved on elsewhere. Until I find out differently, therefore, I must assume that, for some reason, it never arrived in Jersey.

Ardea goliath      Goliath Heron
A pair of Goliath Herons is mentioned on (unpublished) stock lists from 1959 to 1968. Then, on a 1969 stock list, "Goliath Heron" suddenly disappears from the listing, and in its place "European Heron" appears.Could it be that for all those years, European (Grey) Herons had been misidentified as Goliath Herons? It seems implausible, and yet that would explain why one name was suddenly changed for another. It might also explain why neither species is listed on the 1970 stock list. Perhaps when it was realised they were European Herons (Ardea cinerea), and not the rarer and much-less-frequently-seen Goliath Heron, the zoo no longer wanted them and a new home was found for them.

Bubulcus ibis      Cattle Egret
I found a report that suggested this species arrived at Jersey Zoo in 1962, but as I can find no other record of the Zoo ever having kept this species, for the present I must regard it as unproven, especially since it is not mentioned on an (unpublished) 1963 stock list.

Butorides virescens      Little Green Heron
I found a report that suggested this species arrived at Jersey Zoo in 1961, but as I can find no other record of the Zoo ever having kept this species, for the present I must regard it as unproven, especially since it is not mentioned on an (unpublished) 1963 stock list.

Anas erythrorhyncha      Red-billed Teal
I have found a vague, single record to the arrival, in 1962, of Red-billed Teal, but as I can find no corroborative evidence, I must, for the time being, include the species as Doubtful.

Anseranas semipalmata      Magpie Goose
The only evidence I have found for this species at Jersey Zoo is a photograph which I now have serious doubts was even taken in Jersey. If the species was kept, it would have been in the early 1960s.

Nandayus nenday      Black-headed Nanday Conure
The zoo may have had Nandy Conure(s) in the early days, but this is looking doubtful. As with the Magpie Goose, the only evidence I have found for this species at Jersey Zoo is a photograph which I now have serious doubts was even taken in Jersey. I should, however, point out that I have found a written record of a "parakeet" in 1960, where no species was given, so there is a slim possibility this may be alluding to a Nanday Conure (but there is more chance it was alluding to a different species entirely).

Bubo bubo      European Eagle Owl
In his book, The Wildlife Man, by Barry Kaufmann-Wright (Minerva Press, 2001, second edition Upfront Publishing, 2002), the author, a former Jersey Zoo keeper, briefly mentions that, at the time he worked there in the mid 1960s, the zoo possessed European Eagle Owl. I'm inclined to think he is mistaken, as I have never found any allusion to this species having been kept there in any other reference source I've consulted. I have found a few other errors in his book (a pen-and-ink drawing shows a Malayan Tapir when it should depict a Brazilian Tapir), so it is not inconceivable he got the species of eagle owl wrong, too. Possibly the author, writing from memory many years later, was getting confused with either the Fraser's Eagle Owl (B. poensis), Canadian Horned Owl (B. virginianus) or the Milky Eagle Owl (B. lacteus), all of which were maintained during that period.

Corvus albus      Pied Crow
Gerald Durrell brought at least one (tame) Pied Crow home from his 1957 expedition to the then British Cameroons in central-west Africa. A photograph showing this bird in his sister's garden in Bournemouth prior to the founding of Jersey Zoo appears in Jacquie Durrell's 1966 book "Beasts in my Bed" (William Collins & Sons). The animals collected on this expedition formed the nucleus of the zoo's original collection when it opened in 1959. However, there is an interval of around 18 months between Gerald Durrell returning from the British Cameroons and the opening of the zoo in Jersey. Some animals had died during this time and others may well have been exchanged for other species. What happened to the Pied Crow? Did it take its place at Jersey Zoo? I can find no record of it. An (unpublished) stock list from August 1959 does not mention the species, although, of course, it is quite possible it arrived in the early part of 1959 but had already departed the collection by the time that stock list was compiled five months after the zoo opened.

Crocodylus cataphractus      African Slender-snouted Crocodile
Mentioned in reports from 1962, but in 1966 the species was re-identified as Nile Crocodile (C. niloticus).
 
Osteolaemus tetraspis     
West African Dwarf (Broad-fronted) Crocodile
Many of the early residents of Jersey Zoo were species that Gerald Durrell had collected personally on his third expedition to the British Cameroons (as this African country was known in those days) in 1956/57. Since he had collected a large number of Dwarf Crocodiles on his two earlier expeditions to the Cameroons, when he had been collecting for other zoos, it is reasonable to suppose he must have brought back several specimens on his last Cameroon expedition, when he had been collecting the founding stock for his own zoo. However, I can find no evidence of this species having been kept at Jersey Zoo. It is, of course, quite possible he did bring back Dwarf Crocodiles, but that they died or were sold or exchanged with other zoos before Jersey Zoo opened or in the first few months of operation. 

Dasypeltis sp.      African Egg-eating Snake
Dendroaspis jamesoni      Jameson's Green Mamba
Sp. inc.      South American Coral Snake sp.
Naja nigricollis      Black-necked Spitting Cobra
Bitis gabonica gabonica      West African Gaboon Viper
Bitis nasicornis      Rhinoceros (Nose-horned) Viper
In the late 1950s Gerald Durrell captured a number of snakes on animal-collecting expeditions to the then British Cameroons (1957) and Argentina (1958/59). These species are mentioned in the books he wrote about those expeditions: A Zoo in My Luggage (1960) and The Whispering Land (1961). The animals from these two expeditions formed the nucleus of his Jersey Zoo. However, I can find no reference to these six species at Jersey Zoo. I should say the earliest stock list I have seen is from 22 August 1959, so it is remotely possible they wee exhibited prior to this date. Apart from the Coral Snake, all the others were collected in the Cameroons almost two years before Jersey Zoo opened, and possibly died or were traded in the interim.

Bufo (Amietophrynus) superciliarus      Eyebrow (Browleaf) Toad
Gerald Durrell acquired specimens of this impressive toad in the then British Cameroons in 1957, when he was collecting animals for his future zoo, but I can find no record of the species at Jersey Zoo.

Sp. inc.      Argentinian Tree Frog
According to his book, The Whispering Land (1961), Gerald Durrell acquired a specimen, which is not identified in the book beyond the fact it is a species of tree frog, during his Argentine expedition of  of 1958/59. I can find no record of such an amphibian at Jersey Zoo, however.

Sp. inc.      Cameroon Green Tree Frog
Apparently Gerald Durrell acquired one or more species of tree frog whilst in the then Cameroons in 1957, collecting animals for his future zoo. Whatever this species was, I can find no mention of it at Jersey Zoo.

Sp. inc.      Whip Scorpion (Vinegarroon)
Gerald Durrell collected some of these bizarre arachnids whilst in the then British Cameroons in 1957, almost two years before his zoo opened, but I can find no evidence that the taxon was ever held at Jersey Zoo.
 
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