The size of the New York Zoo, the existence of six entrances and the fact that the physical features of the Park have determined the location of the various animals make it impossible to plan a tour for the visitor which will embrace every-thing without retraversing some of the paths. The visitor with limited time at his disposal, or who wishes to see only particular specimens, should consult the map and key on page 150, by means of which the various installations may be readily located.
Of large and elaborately equipped buildings of brick and stone there are the following:
Reptile House, Elephant House, Lion House, Primate House, Large Bird House, Aquatic Bird House, Pheasant Aviary, Small Mammal House, Ostrich House, Antelope House, Small Deer House, Zebra House.
All these buildings of the New York Zoo are provided with open-air yards in which the inhabitants can exercise and be observed.
Of less important animal buildings there are the following:
Asiatic Deer House, North American Deer House, Axis Deer House, Elk House, Musk-ox House, Camel House, Bear Dens Burrowing Rodents', Flying Bird Cage Quarters, Wolf and Fox Dens, Prairie Dog Village, Mountain Sheep Hill Puma and Lynx House, Sea Lion Pool, Raccoon Tree.
All the hoofed animal houses are connected with extensive outdoor ranges where the herds may be observed at large.
Of open-air installations for wild animals and birds there are the following:
Penguin Pool, Pigeon House, Wild Fowl Pond, Goose Aviary, Otter House, Wild Turkey Enclosure, Beaver Pond, Turtle Pond, Crane Paddock.
At the Rocking Stone Restaurant, dining and lunch rooms are provided. Wheel chairs may be obtained at entrance or from Chief Clerk in the Central Service Building.
From the Boston Road entrance of the New York Zoo, the path to the right passes first the Yak Range, where a herd of this wild ox of Tibet affords an interesting comparison with the American bison, or buffalo, occupying an extensive range and corral just beyond. From the roof of the Buffalo House a fine outlook is obtained over the ranges. Of the count-less thousands of wild bison once occupying undisturbed the whole pasture region of the western United States, there remain only about twenty individuals now in the Yellowstone Park, somewhat more than 300 in the barren territory southwest of Great Slave Lake, Canada, and a few small captive herds elsewhere numbering about 2,000 individuals. The western herds were largely reestablished from stock furnished from the New York Zoological Park.
The path to the left, skirting the Buffalo Range, brings the visitor to Mountain Sheep Hill (44 on map), where a steep rocky ridge affords a fine natural habitat for the wild sheep and goats. The Himalayan tahr, the wild goat of northern India, has bred very successfully in the Park; the original pair have a large and active family and even climb the trees in their enclosure. The aoudad, or Barbary wild sheep, the Spanish and Persian ibexes, the mouflon of Sardinia and the burrhel of India are found here, but the Rocky Mountain goat and the bighorn or Rocky Mountain sheep do not thrive in these enclosures and will be found elsewhere.
At the northern end of Mountain Sheep Hill, the visitor faces the Bear Dens, where, in large open yards, with sleeping dens in the rocks behind, the various species of bear are comfortably accommodated. Up the steps to the left is the Rocking Stone Restaurant (46 on map), and the Raccoon Tree, where a number of lively raccoons are acclimatized, is in sight south of the Bear Dens.
A small pond for native wild turtles lies between Mountain Sheep Hill and the Restaurant, where several species may usually be seen basking on the half-submerged log at one end.
The Bronx Zoo bear collection is a large one, including, in the main cages, the American black bear, the grizzly bear, the Syrian bear, the hairy-eared bear, the great Yezzo bear of Japan, several species of Alaskan brown bear and the Kodiak bear. Two fine polar bears are in a large den down the steps north of the main bear dens, and still other species are found facing the main dens on the northwest. The northern compartments of these smaller bear dens accommodate also the laughing hyena and the South African hyena dog. The path beside these latter dens affords a fine view of the Beaver Pond and Dam and brings the visitor to the back of the Reptile House.
The open-air Tortoise Yards flanking the east wall of this building may be examined first; here, in summer, the tortoise and large tropical lizards may be seen taking air and exercise. These yards are connected with indoor quarters for use when the weather is cool. The giant tortoises are especially interesting, growing to enormous size and living to a great age. The largest specimen, from the Galapagos Islands, weighs 225 pounds. These creatures are now to be found only on isolated groups of islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but from fossil remains found elsewhere they appear once to have inhabited all the continents. Among large lizards, the Australian monitor, the powerful tegu of South America and the iguanas should be mentioned. The lizards here and in the Reptile House of the New York Zoo form a comprehensive collection.
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