Lists compiling the respective feed requirements of different zoo animals are not just part of the routine and standard practice in zoological gardens. They also provide insights into the history of a zoo – as they do here, with regard to the animal population and food supply situation at Berlin Zoo in the postwar years. In order to secure and reorganise the feed supply after the end of the Second World War, it was first necessary to determine what was needed. For this purpose, Katharina Heinroth, the zoo director at the time, submitted a monthly list of the feed requirements for her animals to the ‘Haupternährungsamt’, the main food authority of the city, which was responsible for procuring feed. These lists were essential for keeping the zoo animals alive, as Katharina Heinroth and her staff could not feed the animals on their own. The lists are thus indicative of the zoo’s administrative relationship with the Berlin authorities, and simultaneously tell us something about the development of the zoo’s animal population. After the end of the war, the zoo only had about 80 animals, but thanks to animal exchanges and gifts from a circus and from the people of Berlin, this number had already risen to 240 by the fall of 1945. However, in November 1945, due to the precarious food supply situation in the city, the Allied command banned any further acquisition of large animals for the zoo. The demand for feed thus remained relatively stable in the following years.
The feed issue came to a head again during the Berlin Blockade from June 1948 to May 1949, when the city faced major shortages in food provisions for both humans and animals. The requirements listed could no longer be met. Although the senator responsible for food and nutrition allocated foodstuffs that had become unsuitable for human consumption to the zoo for feeding purposes, Heinroth and her staff neither had sufficient feed, nor could they bring in hay, beets, and carrots from the zoo’s own leased land in the surrounding countryside, which was now in the Russian sector. Oats, bran, and seeds thus had to be flown in during the blockade. However, a forestry director leased twelve hectares of land in the Grunewald to the zoo, enabling zoo workers to grow green fodder once they had cleared away the bullet-pocked tree stumps.1
In the early 1950s, when not only was there an upturn in the animal trade, but also the food supply situation in the Berlin area eased, Katharina Heinroth and her co-workers were once more able to procure sufficient feed and acquire new animals.2 As the zoo’s population grew, there was a corresponding increase in the monthly feed requirements. The lists are thus especially useful as indicators of times of crisis and economic circumstances.
Stock Association of the Zoological Garden of Berlin
Animal Population of the Zoological Garden of Berlin
240 animals in total,
including the following large animals:
3 lions / 2 hyenas / 2 bears / 2 wolves / 10 raccoons / 1 civet cat / 6 foxes / 1 elephant / 1 hippopotamus / 3 zebus / 1 yak / 1 Watusi cattle / 9 horses / 1 reindeer / 6 sheep / 2 goats / 2 fallow deer / 1 stag / 2 roe deer / 3 cows / 1 chimpanzee
(Small animals are not listed, nor are monkeys, birds, dogs, porcupines, etc.)
Zoo feed for one month
hay 3000 kg / straw 1000 kg / beets 3500 kg / bran 500 kg / compound feed 1500 kg / grain feed 300 kg / bread scraps 400 kg / chaff 450 kg / oats 300 kg / dog biscuits 200 kg / vegetables 540 kg / fruit 250 kg / meat scraps 550 kg / horse meat 650 kg / fodder potatoes 600 kg / carrots 150 kg / pastry goods 35 kg / oats 100 kg / sunflower seeds 35 kg / canary seed 15 kg / hemp 15 kg / white bread or flour 15 kg / millet 15 kg / sugar 10 kg
The accuracy of this information is guaranteed by
- Cf. Katharina Heinroth, report on the period from 01.01.1948 to 31.12.1950 at the general assembly of the stock association of the Berlin Zoological Garden (Actien-Verein des Zoologischen Gartens Berlin), 21.05.1951, AZGB; Katharina Heinroth. Mit Faltern begann’s: Mein Leben mit Tieren in Breslau, München und Berlin. Munich: Kindler, 1979: 169-170.↩
- Cf. K. Heinroth to U. Bergman, 07.03.1950, AZGB N 4/12.↩