The benevolent ruler and one of the architects of this zoo and the modern Mysore state itself, His Highness Sri Chamarajendra Wadiyar was also the creator of what was to become the famous zoo in the year 1892. When the Maharajas visited European and African countries they used to select interesting animals such as Chimpanzee, Giraffe and others, Antelopes, Primates, birds and bears. Much was entrusted to the dealers who were crating and transporting animals to Mysore zoo. One of the important dealers was Mr. Hermen Ruhe, a German who owned different zoos in Germany.

At that time, the acquisition of animals was not difficult because we had many wild animals from our own forests to give in exchange. There are many knowledgeable dealers. Ruhe from Germany was a close associate of Mysore zoo for more than eight decades. Another feature of the Mysore zoo was its role as “orphanage” for rearing abandoned animals such as the calves of elephant and gaur, tiger and leopard cubs and many other young apes. In addition, it was the place where elephant calves which we caught in Khedda were reared and subsequently sent abroad to various zoos.  Breeding of many exotic animals such as zebra, wild beast or eland/antelope, barberry-sheep, emus, giraffe, Kangaroos was done successfully in Mysore Zoo and distributed to various zoos in the country and abroad.

Our Maharajas took keen interest in zoo management to provide efficient management proper personnel having interest in animal care were drawn to administer the zoo. Zoo was expanded to 100 acres, to house the fauna and flora in a modern way, provided spacious enclosures with natural setting for the welfare of the animals and also the better education of the visitors. Realizing need of a flexible dynamic management, this could respond quickly and appropriately to the needs of a living collection of rare and endangered animals.

In the year 1956 rhinos were added to the collection. Although the zoo was successful in breeding many species both exotic and indigenous, what we now consider a great achievement received little notice because in those days of plentiful habitat and creatures, not particular importance was attached to breeding.

In the mid-1960’s it was obvious that a depletion of wild habitat was taking place. It was realized that wild populations should be preserved. Then many restrictions were imposed for acquiring wild animals forced the zoos to build up their own collection by adopting systematic breeding techniques, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens had even earlier to this initiated breeding of wild animals in captivity in the early part of 1960. Systematic propagation of wild animals was initiated and Mysore zoo succeeded in breeding several species such as chimpanzee, hippo, great Indian one-horned rhino in asia and perhaps in the world. All except original founders were born in the Mysore zoo.

Nonetheless both the tusker (our famous white elephant) and a cow elephant were brought together making the First real zoo birth of Asian elephant in India in the year 1967. Even now the Hamburg Zoo exhibits a mother elephant produced at Mysore Zoo, now herself with a calf in Germany.

In the late 1960’s for the first time a giraffe calf was born in the Mysore Zoo, thus creating a record of breeding of all the large mammals in a span of 5 to 8 years. Nothing the breeding success of both exotic and indigenous fauna, the Indian Board for-wildlife in the early part of 1960’s recommended that at the Mysore Zoo be designated as a national breeding centre of wild animals and had come forward to give 100% financial assistance.

Many other species from South and North America such as American Bison, Rheas, Guanaco, Tapir were also bred in large numbers. In subsequent years Mysore zoo succeeded in breeding some of the endangered species like four horned antelope, mouse deer, civet, caracal, chinkara, niligiri langur, ring tailed lemur, binturong, leopard cat, etc.

In the year 1970 the conservationists cried all over the world that the population of tiger was diminishing in the wild. The Mysore Zoo rose to the occasion and bred large numbers of tigers which are now exhibited and are breeding in many, many zoos all over India. The Mysore Zoo tiger gave birth the very first  day when the tiger project was launched at Bandipur National Park. As the lions which were produced in the zoo had no market, the management of lions became a burden to the zoo. At that time Dr. Nan Schaeffer, Reproductive Physiologist from the Chicago area zoos was invited and for the first time conducted vasectomy on lions in our zoo. Subsequently some of the zoos in the country have adopted the same method.

The Mysore Zoo has several achievements in the medical treatment of wild animals. It was one of the first zoos in the world where a successful caesarian surgery was done on an elephant. This was carried out by Dr. Bird, an Australian gynecologist. Another important work carried out in the zoo was that an attempt to improve the gene quality of Sangai. Mysore Zoo was the first zoo to acquire animals from both blood lines, i.e. that of Calcutta Zoo and of Delhi zoo.

Although it cannot be known for sure the actual Iinage of the offspring it is possible that the gene quality of the Sangai was improved and some of the Sangai born in the zoo were spared to different zoos in country. Recently a male Sangai was donated to Manipur Zoo were it will be part of the nucleus of a new breeding group that is intended for the “Second Home” of Sangai in a large area adjacent to the zoo.

The Mysore Zoo has always been generous with animals for our sister zoos in Indian giving maximum animals on the merit of the receiving zoo and breeding plans rather than demanding cent per cent value the animals. Likewise, the practice of breeding loan was done in Mysore Zoo perhaps more than any other zoo. The zoo made every attempt to cooperate with other zoos even when it was to our loss.

The Mysore Zoo has several achievements in the medical treatment of wild animals. It was one of the first zoos in the world where a successful caesarian surgery was done on an elephant. This was carried out by Dr. Bird, an Australian gynecologist. Another important work carried out in the zoo was that an attempt to improve the gene quality of Sangai. Mysore Zoo was the first zoo to acquire animals from both blood lines, i.e. that of Calcutta Zoo and of Delhi zoo.

Although it cannot be known for sure the actual Iinage of the offspring it is possible that the gene quality of the Sangai was improved and some of the Sangai born in the zoo were spared to different zoos in country. Recently a male Sangai was donated to Manipur Zoo were it will be part of the nucleus of a new breeding group that is intended for the “Second Home” of Sangai in a large area adjacent to the zoo.

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