At the bottom of the great depression, a small zoo was born on Staten Island, New York City. The founding fathers had a vision far ahead of their time and their brainchild was destined to become a unique American zoo. At a time when few zoos emphasized education, it became the prime mission of this institution. Reptiles, particularly snakes, were featured at a time when they were not considered a vital component in the zoo world. As in many other zoos across the nation, the founding fathers struggled with their dream during the Zoo's embryonic stage and infancy. "New York's Biggest Little Zoo: A History of the Staten Island Zoo", by Ken Kawata is rich with fascinating stories, such as America's first woman zoo veterinarian who began her work in 1942, and the world's largest collection of rattlesnakes that was assembled under the same roof. Casey the cassowary, Judy the chimpanzee and Carl Kauffeld, the legendary snake expert, are but a few memorable characters. Behind the scenes, through good times and bad, through passion and turbulence, triumph and disappointment, a team of workers kept New York's Biggest Little Zoo going. This is a story of their legacy. It features: fascinating accounts of a little animal garden; the first zoo to have the world's largest collection of rattlesnakes; and, behind-the-scene stories of the struggle, disappointment, and triumph of people determined to build their dream zoo during turbulent times. This book chronicles the birth, development, and growth of a unique zoo in New York's least known borough.
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