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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/802

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By R. W. SHUFELDT, M. D., C. M. Z. S.

RARELY has it been in the history of the world that a city which has become famous as a scientific and literary center has not, sooner or later, inaugurated, developed, and maintained its collection of living wild animals, its zoological gardens. Indeed, in modern times, as of old, in large civilized communities, it has come to be where such establishments are in existence, and kept up to a high state of perfection and growth, that they are the very badge denoting the presence of marked intellectual activity along the lines we have indicated. With respect to the instances of this in history, they are too well known to the general reader to require enumeration here, while we are all familiar with the names of those cities of our own day wherein such institutions are now flourishing.

In modern times, again, the enormous impulse which the biological sciences have received, the far keener appreciation on the part of the reading public in such matters; and the pressing necessity for such material as zoological gardens can alone supply the morphologist, artist, and animal historian, are, we must believe, the principal forces that eventually give birth to these collections.

The uses of a zoological garden to a civilized country are manifold, and not easily to be overestimated. These uses are considerably enhanced if it is established within easy access of large biological museums and libraries. Sometimes it so happens, however, that in a large city where zoological gardens, museums, and libraries exist, the former may be situated several miles from the last two mentioned, and this is the misfortune to which we more particularly refer, and, if it can be avoided, should be by all means.

If properly conducted, a zoological garden sees its chief use in being a powerful auxiliary to those more general schemes undertaken on the part of the state for the benefit of the community at large, in which educational ends are to be met. And in the management of such a garden, everything connected with it should be continually bent in that direction; the managers should ever keep clearly before their minds this fact, that the principal object they have in view is an educational one—that they have under their control an engine capable of diffusing annually among the people an incalculable store of highly useful knowledge. The moment that such an institution sinks to the level of a purpose-