• breeds,  literature,  zoo

    Pamir the Przewalski and his places

    When I was at the Ménagerie in Paris, which is part of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, I found a lovely children’s book in the gift shop: L’histoire vraie de Pamir, le cheval de Przewalski. The book (which you can buy here), written by Fred Bernard and illustrated by Julie Faulques, is a real reintroduction story. The book begins by backing up in time to present the Przewalski horse as living on the steppes of Mongolia. The Przewalskis were wild, untamable horses, killed as prey by Mongols on the backs of domestic horses. Then the horses are discovered by a colonel named Przewalski in the 19th century. After the discovery scene, the text presents the…

  • breeds

    Breeds, places, and becoming less with loss

    This year, I took a month-long summer holiday. It was mostly free from work obligations, but I couldn’t help always being aware of things that relate to this project on reintroduction and belonging. Several times over the course of my holiday I encountered efforts to preserve regional domestic breeds of animals. In each case, there was a concerted effort to identify the animal breed as belonging to a particular place, with the implication that the place would be diminished without it. Take the Poitou donkey. At the Ménagerie in Paris (which is the historic zoo in town), two Poitou donkeys were on display. The very shaggy donkeys seemed content munching hay, but they…