Society for Promotion of History of Zoos* and Natural History in India**

( * and captive animal collections in any form ; ** SPHZNHI -- pronounced spo-zan-ee)

The Society for the Promotion of the History of Zoos and Natural History in India is a loose association of individuals who are interested either in the history of Indian zoos or the history of Indian natural history.

This Newsletter is a means of informing potential members and contributors of its existence and drawing interested history buffs out of their hiding place. History buffs frequently seem to hide their interest as if it were some perverse addiction. We suspect that there are many people who collect historical titbits and find such information fascinating, particularly in the area of menageries, zoos and natural history. We want them all to come out of the closet and pool their information for the edification of all.

There is a precedent for such a Society. The Bartlett's Society is a society of persons interested in zoo history in the United Kingdom. They produce a Newsletter which is circulated also in the USA through a North American branch. Our original idea was to start a branch of Bartlett Society in India, but knowing the often quite intense individualism of Indians and since this Society is to be located in India, we thought better of it. Also, the Barlett Society specialises in zoo history whereas we want to include the history of natural history as well (despite its awkward verbal construction !).

SPHOZANHI operates as an activity of Zoo Outreach Organisation funded partially by the founder. We may register it in time. The Newsletter appears about once a year (or less) as a centre pull-out in ZOOS' PRINT, the publication of Zoo Outreach Organisation. The name of the Newsletter is "Back When … and Then ?"

Now that we have a web site, we will try and put up the Newsletter on the web. So far two issues of the newsletter have come out and we will reproduce the best of them on the website. Another one is getting ready which will appear on the site in full.

The Newsletter carries news, announcements, short articles or abstracts of articles, book reviews, bibliographies and notes of interest to the zoo and natural history historian, whether he be a dyed in the wool professional historian (they are known for their translucent skin as they never leave the library) as well as the afficionado and dillatante. News and announcements will also cover other parts of the world since there are many books, articles and events which would be of direct use to us here. Articles, book reviews and bibliographies will be restricted to Indian subject matter or material which would bear directly on work being done by the Indian zoo and natural history historians.

Objectives of SPHOZANHI are as follows:



1. To promote interest in research, collection and dissemi-nation of historical information about zoos and captive animal collections in any form and natural history of India and bordering countries.

2. To encourage zoos, natural history institutions and conservation organisations to start Archives for the collection of historical information and artifacts.

3. To encourage and help zoos and natural history museums, with their tremendous advantage of public visitation, to create awareness in the public of their own institutional history as well as the history of zoos and captive wild animal collections and of natural history in India. This will be done by creating model graphics which can be utilised as they are or modified by zoos.

4. To promote the writing of articles specifically to promote interest in the public, such as for newspapers, magazines, etc.

5. To locate historical material and archives which is not available for use by historians or is inaccessible and attempt to acquire it for a public institution in India, such as a library, zoo, museum, or other organisation or institution with library facilities.

6. To find and attempt to repatriate Indian historical materials abroad which would be more appropriately located in India.

7. To produce and publish Newsletters, Journals, articles, and books relevant to the history of zoos* and natural history.

8. To create a mechanism for recognising persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the history of zoos* and natural history in India.

9. To raise funds for the achievement of these objectives by society members and any others deemed worthy of support.

10. To conduct Workshops and Symposia relevant to history of zoos* and natural history of India.


Get involved !

If you have bits of information from the past -- ancient, colonial, pre-Independence, etc. about the study or enjoyment of nature, natural history, animals, menageries, keeping wild animals as pets, zoos, conservation measures … submit them for inclusion in the next newsletter. We will credit you with them but you MUST reference your contributions to have them either included or credited.

Incidentally, who among you can tell the story and significance of the SPHOZANHI logo above ? The BEST answer will win a SPHOZANHI t-shirt. Our email number is zooreach@giasmd01.vsnl.net.in or SallyRWalk@aol.com. Use either of these for sending your historical bits, articles, and your contest entry.

Our other websites are http://members.xoom.com/ZOOIndia/ (containing information on status and listing of Indian species of wildlife - this site is associated with the activities more associated with zoology and field biology via the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group Regional Network, CBSG, India), and http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/6883 (which is associated with Zoo Outreach Organisation's information about and interaction with contemporary zoos of south Asia, captive breeding, international cooperation, ZOOS' PRINT, etc.).

Zoo Outreach Organisation, you know, is a positive, constructive, creative and humble conservation, education, networking, and animal welfare organisation for India and parts of Asia. Learn more about it at the site http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/6883.

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