The Elephant Ride, Regent’s Park Zoo, London

London Zoo is the oldest in the world and opened in 1828. Its purpose was to study animals from around the world but it very quickly became a huge hit with the public and it was inevitable that some animals, particularly elephants and camels, would be used to provide a ‘visitor experience’. This photograph is from the early 1900s and I can’t find any record of when this practice ceased but I’d like to bet it was because of people falling and being injured, rather than any thought for the animals. The Zoo’s founders could never have imagined that two hundred years later, they would be desperately trying to avoid the extinction of the animals they were studying.

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