London’s polar bear

The tower of London -which is actually more a castle than just a tower- is one of London’s most famous landmarks. Built in 1078, it would quickly also become a sort of mini-zoo for the Kings.

According to preserved documents, a polar bear was kept there. It was even allowed to hunt in the Thames river. It drew many spectators from all over the city. Later on, lions and even elephants were brought there as well. Altogether some 60 species were at the tower in the next few hundred years. Many of them were the first of their kind to set foot on English soil.

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By Ansgar Walk (photo taken by Ansgar Walk) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons