Celebrating animals from India and the Royal Opening of Land of the Lions

by Ann Sylph on

Earlier in 2016  HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh unveil Land of the Lions at ZSL London Zoo but ZSL has other historic links with the Royal family and Indian animals.

In May 1876, a collection of Indian animals arrived at ZSL London Zoo, they were brought here by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and collected by him on his tour of India. There were 151 animals of which 65 were mammals and 86 were birds. (1) He was subsequently awarded with ZSL’s Gold medal. It was presented to him at Marlborough House on 7 June 1877 by  ZSL’s President, Vice-Presidents and Secretary.(3)

Line drawings of some Indian mammals presented by the Prince of Wales including elephants and tigers
Illustrations of the Prince of Wales indian animals from the Penny Illustrated Paper May 27, 1876

There was considerable interest in these Indian animals leading to an huge increase in visitors to 915,764 in 1876 compared  to 699,918 in 1875. (4)

In the Guide to the Gardens of the Zoological Society of London 30th ed. / by Philip Lutley Sclater, in 1876 (2) the following lists were published :

List of Indian mammals deposited by HRH the Prince of Wales as printed in the Guide to the Gardens... by Philip Lutley Sclater, 1876
List of Indian mammals deposited by HRH the Prince of Wales as printed in the Guide to the Gardens... by Philip Lutley Sclater, 1876
List of Indian birds deposited by HRH the Prince of Wales as printed in the Guide to the Gardens... by Philip Lutley Sclater, 1876
List of Indian birds deposited by HRH the Prince of Wales as printed in the Guide to the Gardens... by Philip Lutley Sclater, 1876

His son the Prince of Wales (later George V) also presented a collection of Indian animals from his tour of India in 1905 and 1906. A book by Frank Finn was published listing these animals along with some photographs of some of the animals (5), see below for a scan of this book.

Further reading

Please note that the numbers in brackets above refer to the references in this list

1)The Zoological Society of London: a sketch of its foundation and development …. / Henry Scherren, London : Cassell, 1905  p 164 and 165

2) Guide to the Gardens of the  Zoological Society, 30th ed. / by Philip Lutley Sclater, London : Bradbury, Agnew &Co., 1876 – contains a list of the animals presented in 1876 by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII)

3) Annual report / Zoological Society,  April 1878 p. 5.

4) Annual report/ Zoological Society 1878 p. 24

5) Guide to the Prince of Wales collection of Indian animals, Zoological Gardens, Regent’s Park by Frank Finn, London : Zoological Society, [1906]  These are the animals presented by the then Prince of Wales, later to become George V. 

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