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'Zoo : A History of Zoological Gardens in the West by Eric Baratay, Elisabeth Hardouin-Fugier
Description:
Wild animals have fascinated human observers since time immemorial. The story of our interest in collecting, classifying and dominating Nature looms large; thus it is surprising that the history of menageries, zoological gardens and zoos as we know them today has been so poorly documented. This gap is addressed by Zoo. In the Renaissance, wealthy aristocrats showcased exotic beasts in private menageries. Safely caged, animals inspired the interest of naturalists and fed the curiosity of the masses. By the 19th century, increased urbanization and colonization aided the expansion of zoos in which animals were tamed to serve as domesticated livestock. Nowadays, with many natural habitats under threat of extinction, the social function of zoos is less clear. Such institutions both present the illusion of wild animals in a natural state to a nostalgic public and find themselves justifying their existence as saviors of endangered species.

  

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