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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/808

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

this class, do best in a sluggish pool, with marshy banks, and with flat, mossy rocks and logs to bask themselves upon. Out at West End, in New Orleans, there is a small place of this kind, and the several large alligators I saw in it seemed to be as well contented as though they were enjoying the peculiar advantages of their native bayous; and, as common as these great reptiles are in Louisiana, those at West End always seemed to have more or fewer people intently watching them; and sometimes, even in the broiling noonday sun, one might see one of the oldest and most aristocratic residents of Royal Street stop there for a passing moment, just to "take a glance at the 'gators."

Throughout the garden the names of all the animals should be made known to the visitors by the managers seeing to it that the cages or other receptacles confining them are properly though not too conspicuously labeled. An excellent form of label is a small, water-tight, cast-iron, and painted one, with a glass-slide front. In this the white paper slip may be kept, upon which in plain black letters is printed the name of the animal—that is, its most common name—with its accepted technical name; and a brief statement giving sex and normal geographical range in nature.

However amusing it may be, it also has its other aspects, to see a party of some ten or a dozen people standing before a large tank-cage containing a pair of fur-seals, and, from the absence of a label, not a soul able to divine the name of the creatures contained in it; and perhaps, too, one or more ladies in the group with a seal sack on.

In a country like the United States, where a number of its finest mammals and some birds are rapidly becoming extinct, it devolves as a solemn duty upon the management of a zoölogical garden to secure a goodly representation of these for permanent preservation. Among the mammals which now need such action none is better known than the buffalo, though the Rocky Mountain goat (Mazama), the beaver, and several species of deer stand in the same case; indeed, I presume the day will come to this country when all of our larger mammals will cease to exist in a state of nature, and we shall have to depend upon our gardens and parks for examples of them. Of the birds, our Carolina parrot and roseate spoonbill are conspicuous examples, and it can be only a few years at most when both species will be extinct in this country.

Animals in a zoölogical garden should be grouped, so far as circumstances will admit, into their natural orders of the class to which they belong. For instance, all the dogs, wolves, and foxes, and their nearest allies, should be made to inhabit a den or dens in the same part of the garden, and in all cases special means