Directly north from the Wolf Dens of the New York City Zoo is the Elephant House, the largest animal building in the Park. This imposing structure, with a dome in the center and ornamented with animal sculptures by the well-known sculptors A. Phimister Proctor and Charles R. Knight, is 170 feet long and 84 feet wide, and is divided lengthwise into eight huge compartments, four for elephants, two for rhinoceroses and two for hippopotami. At each end of the building are smaller cages for tapirs and young elephants. Each interior cage is connected with a large open-air corral where the animals can exercise.
A full-grown Indian elephant and two young African elephants are to be seen, as well as the rare and curious Indian rhinoceros, the African two-horned rhinoceros, the African hippopotamus and the pygmy hippopotamus; the latter, also from Africa, has never before been found in captivity. The hippopotami have a large bathing tank within the building to serve instead of the river they frequent when at home.
North of the Elephant House is Baird Court in the New York City Zoo, where are situated the Lion House, the Primate House, the Large Bird House and the Administration Building, the latter not open to the public.
The Lion House (15 on map of the New York City Zoo) is a spacious building, decorated exteriorly with animal sculptures by Eli Harvey, with large raised outdoor cages and sleeping dens for the animals, communicating as usual with indoor accommodations. lere Barbary lions, Bengal tigers, leopards, jaguars, Siberian tiger, pumas and other large felines make a splendid spectacle. These animals are fed at 2 P.m. A studio, at the northeast end of the Lion House, is arranged for the use of artists who wish to make life-studies of its animals.
In the Primate House (17 on map) are the animals nearest to man in the zoological order: the anthropoid apes, baboons, monkeys and lemurs.
The north hall of this house of primates contains the anthropoid apes, the type nearest to man; of these, the chimpanzee and orang-utan are always kept on exhibition, and in their large outdoor cage are a constant source of entertainment. The great apes, however, are short-lived in captivity, and therefore somewhat uncertain quantities in zoological parks, The gorilla is especially delicate, and this most human-like of the apes cannot always be shown for the reason that specimens are difficult to obtain and quickly die of indigestion and lack of exercise. The white-handed gibbon, farthest from man of the anthropoids, has a large cage on the west of this hall and spends much time swinging on the long bar provided for him in place of his native tree-tops.
The baboons are strong fierce primates accustomed to life upon the ground surrounded by enemies, and have to be treated with respect. Of these the mandrill of West Africa is the most extraordinary and the golden baboon the best tempered in captivity. The long-armed baboon, the chacma baboon, the hamadryads of Arabia and others are also exhibited, on the east of the central hall. These cages are all provided with outdoor accommodations. Of the Old World monkeys, the rhesus monkey of India, one of the sacred species, the mona monkey and sooty mangabey of Africa, the Japanese red-faced monkey and the entellus monkey of India are to be found among other representative types.
Except for the sapajous (the hand-organ monkeys), which are interesting for their prehensile tails, the New World monkeys-primates are not very hardy, the spider monkeys, sakis and yarkes being especially delicate. The rare Humboldt's woolly monkey has not been successfully kept inside in small cages by the New York City Zoo on account of its delicacy.
The lemurs, monkey-like primates, chiefly from India or Madagascar, are found east of the south hall. They belong to the lowest group of the Primates and are nocturnal in nature, but in the Primate House they appear to like the sunshine.
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