June 24, 1908


Plans for Buildings Will Be Ready by
July 1 and Gus Pearson Is
Now Casting About for
Rare Animals.

Within a comparatively short time, probably before the end of the present summer, the Kansas City Zoological Society will have realized its ambition to install in Swope park one of the handsomest and most complete zoos in the country. Already the site has been selected and the architects have been instructed to proceed with preliminary drawings which are to be tendered for approval before the end of the month.

Yesterday afternoon the commissioners, members of the Zoological Society and others went to the park to finally decide on the site, an ideal one situated about three-quarters of a mile from the main entrance, in a beautiful hollow which is particularly well adapted to the purpose.

The first building to be erected, the one which will be the principal of a group to follow, will be patterned after other famous buildings of the kind in New York and Chicago, only it is the intention to make it more complete. Situated in the center of the ravine, the structure will be erected within twelve feet of a solid wall of rock where bears and other animals of similar species will be provided with caves and watering troughs in natural rock. This alone is an important feature of the adaptability of the site as the majority of bear pits in other cities are manufactured for the purpose.

From the beginning to a point just above the extreme height of the bear pits will be extended a series of iron gratings and the various specimens will be divided in pens probably ten feet square. The building proper will be 150 feet in length by 85 feet in breadth, in the center of which, with dimensions of 110 by 45 feet, will be a mammoth bird-flying cage and an aquarium. This cage will be 30 feet in height.

At one end of the building will be a division for the larger hay eating animals, all of which, with the possible exception of the buffalo and deers, will have to be housed during the winter months. The south side will be devoted to smaller animals and larger birds, the north side to larger animals, such as lions, tigers, leopards, wildcats and the like, while the west end will be occupied by monkey cages in which it is the intention to exhibit every species of this interesting animal procurable.

Adjacent to the building will be the thirty or more acres contributed by the city which are to be utilized as grazing grounds for herds of buffalo, deer, elk and the like. The tract will be enclosed by a woven wire fence and the various specimens can be seen in their daily habits with every advantage. The numerous trees which grow on this side will be retained, and the abundance of good sweet grass and clover growing there insures excellent feed for all captives.

The small brook which runs immediately through the center of the ravine will be made picturesque and useful. With little labor the stream can be made to run through almost all of the outside pens, thus insuring fresh, cold water all the time, while outside the pens the little stream will be artistically bridged and otherwise beautified.

Although the city thus far has contributed only $15,000 for the purpose of erecting the building, it is probable that an additional amount will be forthcoming before actual work on the structure begins. It is the intention, according to members of society, to expend $25,000 on the first building, and those which are to follow will cost nearly as much.

In the meantime the two lonely, hostile and altogether uninteresting monkeys which occupy a spacious house near the second shelter pavilion, will be provided with more adequate quarters and more companions. This was decided yesterday and it is probable that the additional monkeys will be forthcoming within another month. After the permanent monkey house is finished these specimens will be transferred to cages in which numerous others, which re now being sought, will welcome them.

It is the intention of the society to spare no expense to secure all of most rare and costly animals from every section of the world. This was the understanding when the city consented to donate land and erect the buildings. It is probable that an expert on animals will be engaged and authorized to secure the best specimens. A corps of expert animal caretakers will be brought her from the famous Central park zoo in New York and elsewhere.