Port Lympne and Howletts – exotic wild animals in the surroundings of Kent.

zoo howletts zoo howletts

The brief history of zoos.
According to some archaeological excavations of menageries, the ancestors of contemporary zoos, had already existed in Egypt by 3500 BC. During the Middle Ages it was also quite popular with the monarchs, competing with each other in generosity, to present each other with exotic animals. We all know the Tower of London as the ancient prison, but from the 13th century and for 6 centuries it had been operating as the dungeon for wild animals too.

port lympne park

Three halfpennies allowed to the Londoners to gawk elephants, leopards or lions, for those, who brought a cat or dog as the snack for the captivated predators, the entrance was free.
From the middle of 18th century started to appear the first zoological gardens or simply zoos, the point of which was not only to entertain the public but also to study the wildlife.

zoo howletts

Comparing to the oldest in the world Vienna Zoo, opened in 1765, Howletts and Port Lympne wild animals park are quite young: Howletts park was opened to the public in 1975, and his younger but much larger sibling Port Lympne – a year later. By that time the mankind had already spoiled the nature so much that we had to protect some species of animals from ourselves. Thus to the entertaining and scientific functions of zoos was added the protective one as well. For the few decades of their existence Port Lympne and Howletts have acquired the reputation of the place looking after the endangered animals, such as western lowland gorillas, Javan gibbons, Siberian and Sumatran tigers, black rhinoceros or African elephant. Besides Howletts Wild Animal Park houses the largest band of gorillas in the world.

zoo howletts

Port Lympne or Howletts? 600-acre Port Lympne was established when it became clear that 90 acres of Howletts became inadequate for the growing collection of animals, so to a degree they both reflect each other regarding their four-legged residents. Although they of course have their personal highlights as well, such as Port Lympne safari experience (for the additional price) with zebras and giraffes or the walk amidst hilarious frisky lemurs at Howletts. They say, “size doesn’t matter”, but if the animals could speak our human language they would definitely argue. At Port Lympne they certainly look more at ease, moving in the spacious enclosures quite freely, as long as Howletts noticeably suffers from the lack of it, and it becomes especially obvious in contrast to the gorillas’ area.

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