This is my third time to Paris, and the last two times I visited I went to the natural history museum and it is by far my favorite museum in the entire world. Their collection of stuffed specimens is fantastic, and they even have a stuffed dodo bird. But every time I have wandered through those gardens that lead to the museum I never knew that there was a beautiful zoo just beyond the row of trees.
La Ménagerie- Le Zoo du Jardin des Plantes was founded by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1794 who believed that animals should be kept somewhere that was close to their natural environment, where their needs were addressed, and where the public could view them for their own education and benefit.
The zoo did not have large animals like elephants, but it was fantastic none-the-less. Compared to many smaller zoo’s most of the animals had decent sized enclosures, many were larger than many bigger zoos I’d seen in the U.S. They also had many species I had never even heard of, which is always impressive to a zoo keeper. One of my favorites was the Sichuan takin, which I will be doing an O.A.P. on soon.
Many of the cages looked very beautiful and antique. They even had an entire building of vivariums! Have I ever mentioned how much I love vivariums? I actually just built one myself, it’s quite fun to watch it all grow and come together, not to mention the amazingly cool critters you can keep in them.
They had a Kea parrot, a pallas cat, and they even had Pondicherry vultures! Two of them! A breeding pair! They were actually the animals that drew me to the zoo because they are (I believe) the only breeding pair in captivity, and quite possibly the only in captivity in Europe. There is only one in captivity in North America. His name is Brahma and I actually got the opportunity to work with him at the Palm Beach Zoo. Allegedly the two at the Ménagerie in Paris are his parents, which I thought was very very cool.
Here are some photos from my trip to the Ménagerie: