ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.'
Sin,—It is reported that the project to establish a South London Zoological Garden has not found _ favour with the London County Council. The capture of wild creatures for zoological gardens has greatly increased of late years, as has the collection of specimens for museums, especially American museums. Unfortunately, the capture of animals by tm- scrupulcius collectors is often attended by the destruction of a very large number for every one taken ; as when large tracts of country are " driven " for this purpose.
The world's fauna are rapidly decreasing, and every year some species are exterminated. Zoological gardens have their. value, .though to many the sight of wild creatures imprisoned for life is a sad one.
Again, many die in captivity, often from change of climate ; yet more are required each year, whilst the sources of supply diminish and cannot be kept up from animals bred in captivity. The area of all the game preserves of the world is a tiny portion of its surface, and there is always present the danger of some disease decimating a preserve.
To manyof us the picture of a country bereft of its wild life is indeed a sad and desolate one, but much has to be done if such a condition is to be avoided, and a sacred trust fulfilled. The Society for the Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire is doing a great work, and should be far more generally and generously supported. Before me lies a list of furs sold by auction. at one sale in the United States of America. It comprises the astounding number of between eight and nine million skins! A Boston paper sent me to-day. states that. "well over six million sportsmen within the confines of the United States will this season sally forth in pursuit of game— with repeating rifles and pump guns." Dr. W. T. Hornaday says that of the hosts that existed years ago in the U.S.A. but two per cent. of game birds and animals classed as game now exist ! It seems only too certain that the automobile will complete the work of extermination.—! am, Sir, &e.,