Surprisingly, a portion of the Tower of London used to be a zoo in the Medieval Ages. James Owen, a writer for National Geographic News, explores the secret life of the animals in the tower in his article; Medieval Lion Skulls Reveal Secrets of Tower of London “Zoo.”
“Researchers have been delving into the history of the royal menagerie, using animal remains to reveal the secrets of medieval lions once locked up in the Tower.
“Our research provides important information on some of the earliest lions seen in northern Europe since [European lions] became extinct at the end of the last Ice Age [14,000 to 11,000 years ago],” she added. “It also sheds some light on the conditions and health of animals in one of the world’s longest-running menageries.”
Jeremy Ashbee, a former Tower of London curator, says the menagerie was the king’s private collection and a sign that he enjoyed good relations with foreign monarchs, who presented him with exotic animals.”