Joseph Menges , wildlife animal trader in
Born 1850-10-07 in Germany
dead 1910-01-04 in Germany
Josef Menges was a German explorer of Africa, and a son of Joseph Menges and his wife Maria Josepha Diefenbach. His father was the last Thurn und Taxis post keeper in Limburg ad Lahn, who was actively involved in local politics and was elected mayor in 1877.
Josef Menges traveled to Europe, America, Africa, Ceylon and India, spoke not only the world languages English, French and Italian, but also many African dialects. To finance his Research
trips to Northeast Africa, he published numerous travel and Research
reports. Later he dedicated himself to the animal trade and supplied the European zoos with exotic animals.
In order to provide financial support for his expeditions, Josef Menges joined the Hamburg animal dealer Carl Hagenbeck
as early as 1876, providing him with information on the animal populations sighted, the possibilities of catching and successful transport to the coast and Europe.
Menges was Hagenbecks best man on his wedding, and was described by Carl Hagenbecks son Lorenz Hagenbeck,
as Carl Hagenbecks best friend. He would not only be be an expert in animal capture for Firma Hagenbeck, but would also lead the Hagenbecks Zoo, when Carl Hagenbeck
left Germany for business abroad. Exhibition. Our zoo at home was left in the charge of Joseph Menges.
Menges became a sought-after expert and supplier for zoological gardens and menageries because of his outstanding knowledge of catching, keeping and caring for wild animals. In February 1887 he took over a pet shop in Trieste and opened his own trading office here. Here he set up a quarantine station in which the animals were looked after and cared for before they began their onward journey to the European zoos.
In addition to Hamburg, the zoological garden in Frankfurt became the most important transshipment point for the animal collections introduced by Menges to Europe, when on April 1, 1893, Dr. Adalbert Seitz, director of the Frankfurt Zoological Garden, provided him with an interim storage facility so that his large animal imports could first be shown and sold in the Frankfurt Zoo.
Hagenbeck kommt, painting by by Hans Emil Oberländer, 1893.