19 APRIL 1963, Page 6

The Zoo Theatre A visit to the Zoo after a

winter's interval finds a transformation scene in progress which bears witness to the Zoological Society's im- proved financial position and desire to continue a process of modernisation in animal display that had already started before the war with the Mappin Terraces, the penguin pool and the gorilla house. The latest innovations are the reconstruction of the giraffe house and the build- ing of antelope and deer houses along the south bank of the Regent's Canal. Now, in Decimus Burton's hall, we view the giraffes from under a low roof which emphasises their height and our own dwarfed stature. The antelopes and deer are to be seen in their lighted dens from a darker passage, and soon we shall physically look up to the elephants, thereby admitting an essential inferiority to the pachyderms which many of us have always felt. Personally, I am all for this humble stance on the part of the public, but the Zoo authorities must take care that, as cages become more and more theatrical, animals do not become more and more prima donnas. We have quite enough of that these days with human beings.