Thylacines were exhibited
at four zoos in Europe; the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris,
Berlin Zoo, Cologne Zoo and Antwerp Zoo.
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Founded in 1793, from
the core collection of the Royal Menagerie in Versailles (Ménagerie
Royale), the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris is one of
the world's oldest public zoos. Two thylacines were displayed at
the zoo between 1886 and 1891, and were housed in the Predator House or
Fauverie. The life history of France's two thylacines from their
point of capture in Tasmania, through various zoos, and finally into a
museum collection can be accurately traced. The Geelong Advertiser
of the 11th September 1883 (p. 3) states:
Examiner) have had the pleasure of inspecting two Tasmanian tigers,
obtained by Dr. A. B. Crowther from Bridport. They appear to be in
excellent condition, and thriving well. Professor Flower, of the
Regent Park (Zoo), has for some years been in correspondence with
Dr. Crowther with reference to obtaining one of these comparatively rare
animals. The Professor has recently written again, urging the capture,
if possible, of one of these animals. By good luck the pair Dr. Crowther
has obtained are a male and female. They were captured a short distance
from Bridport, in a snare on the top of a fence, up to which a drag was
laid. Messrs Brewer, who captured them, state that out of 60 caught
these were the only pair taken alive. The animals appear to be getting
used to confinement, and eat well. Dr. Crowther will allow them to
be placed on exhibition shortly before sending them home".
Map of Jardin des Plantes,
circa 1900. Place your pointer over the map to magnify.
The Predator House where
the thylacines were housed is marked in red.
As can be seen from
the article, Dr Crowther's original intent was to send the thylacines to
London. This however did not materialise, and the thylacines were
eventually sold to the Melbourne Zoo for twenty guineas. The Launceston
Examiner 5th Jan 1884 (p. 2) provides further detail:
"By the S.S. Pateena
on Monday next will be shipped to Melbourne two Tasmanian tigers, purchased
by the Acclimatisation Society of Victoria, from Dr. Bingham Crowther,
who obtained them some time ago with the intention of forwarding them alive
to England. Dr. Crowther has, however, found so many difficulties
in the way, and so much risk attending their shipment without some person
being in charge of the animals during the voyage, that he had to abandon
the idea, and accepted an offer of twenty guineas made for them for the
Royal Park menagerie, in Melbourne. But for the difficulty and expense
of obtaining a suitable cage and place for exhibition, these tigers would
have been placed on view for the benefit of those who have never seen an
animal that is yearly becoming rarer in the colony".
Fauverie (Predator House)
circa 1831, Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes (Paris).
Paris & its Environs
by Pugin & Heath, Published by Jennings & Chaplin (London).
Postcard of the Fauverie
(Predator House), Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes (Paris).