A Bear Named Caesar

One of the Zoo’s first new additions was a one-year-old brown bear that came with the name Caesar—even though she was actually female. She had been living as a mascot aboard a Navy ship, and although things had largely been fine, she went on a rampage one day, running through the ship corridors and knocking down everyone left and right—including the captain. The sailors decided that perhaps she was getting too big and strong for them after all, and they decided to donate her to the brand-new San Diego Zoo.

When she disembarked at the harbor, however, the brand-new Zoo did not yet have any trucks to transport animals. Dr. Thompson, who was acting as director at the time, did the only thing he could do: he settled her into the front seat of his roadster and drove her to the Zoo, getting some astonished looks from other drivers!


Beginnings 1916 - 1926
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