Zoo's First Cage
The image above shows the first cage that is attributed to the zoo's beginning. Andrew Erkenbrecher is known as the founder of the Cincinnati Zoo. He always had a great love for birds and animals and this was shown in the many birds and animals he kept as pets on his farm. The large cage above was built by him in 1868 to house his many birds. This image taken in the 1920s shows the cage still being used at the zoo for this purpose although by this time it was primarily a item kept by the stockholders as a reminder of Mr. Erkenbrecher. I do not know what happened to it.
There were originally 7 of these Japanese-style aviaries, constructed in 1875. In 1974 6 of them were demolished with the 7th being preserved as a memorial to Martha, the last known passenger pigeon.
Martha Aviary in 1974 Martha's Pavilion-1984
were once the most numerous bird species on the planet with between 3 to 5 billion
birds, one in every four birds in North America was a passenger pigeon. There were reports of flocks so huge they took 3days for them to pass. The last known colony was reported in Michigan. When Martha arrived at
the zoo in 1902 she was one of the few remaining passenger pigeons. The species
had been ruthlessly slaughtered between 1880-1900 by hunters who used them for
food and for live targets. The Cincinnati Zoo, in a desperate attempt to help
replenish the species, offered $1,500 for a mate for Martha, but none
could be found (in their heyday they were worth 10cents per 100). The 3rd non-postcard image above is one of the 5 original bird aviary buildings that were built in 1875.
Martha died in one of these buildings Sept. 2, 1914 and it is now a memorial to her and to
Incas the last Carolina Parakeet that died 2-21-1918, which also has disappeared from the planet.
It has been written that Martha died when she was an old and frail 29 year old bird, but that is extremely unlikely. Doves and pigeons normally live anywhere from 13 to 15 years and Martha's age is believed to be anywhere from 17 to 22 years. Her body was packed in 300 lbs of ice and sent to the Smithsonian Institution, by refrigerated car, in Washington D.C. where it was mounted by taxidermist Nelson Wood. Martha was on display from 1956 until 1999. She was returned to the zoo in 1974 for the memorial dedication. She flew first class with a airline attendant as escort. There are plans to display Martha next summer (2014) on the 100th anniversary of her death.
Walk thru bird cage
The Walk Through Flight Cage was opened in 1962 and allowed visitors to view birds close up.
Eagle House Flight Cage Aquila (eagle) Trained Eagle Brownie & owner
The Eagle House was built in 1857 and was replaced by the Flight Cage that was constructed in 1970. It holds all the large birds.
5" x 7" Card
Betsy Ross and Brookfield Baldy, the pair of Bald Eagles at the zoo, produced an eaglet which was later released in the wild. The release was part of a program aimed at increasing the population of the endangered species.
White Peacock RP of Storks on nest You name them
Many of these early cards show a female Asian elephant named "Hatnee" who was a favorite of zoo visitors for decades. She frequently gave rides to children while being led by her trainer, Ed Coyne. Ed started at the zoo when he was 10 years old in 1877 and was still working there 65 years later when he died in 1942. He is seen standing on the leg of the elephant in the 1st non-postcard image below, and standing in front of the Asian elephant in the other.
Zoo Keeper Ed Coyne around 1915
Hatnee being led by Ed Coyne
Gimpy-A Pigmy Elephant
Photo by Paul Briol
Gimpy was donated to the zoo in 1932 by Judge Alfred K. Nippert. She was only 6' tall at maturity and was one of the most popular attractions at the zoo for many years.
African Two-Horned Rhino
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