Screw you, years that begin with 20! Back in the 1930s, the SF Zoo was already on what many folks believe is the greatest invention of the 21st century: The cute cat video.
SF Gate pulled up the footage, taken by a newsreel crew in 1933. In the video, which you can see below, the zoo's ten new tiger, lion and leopard cubs crawl all over each other, then are finger and nose printed for what they say are identification purposes.
According to the Gate, Zoo founder Herbert Fleishhacker wanted new animals for the zoo, which at the time had only "two zebras, a cape buffalo, five rhesus monkeys, two spider monkeys and three elephants named Babe, Marjorie and Virginia."
So Fleishacker brought in "collector" George Bistany to acquire new animals and, according to the Zoo's site, to eventually become the Zoo's first director.
Bistany was a pretty fascinating guy! This SF Weekly piece from last year notes his claim that he could "talk with many" apes, even though when Bistany went to "separate a pair of brawling apes, an orangutan named Michael savagely mauled his arms and legs," before another orangutan leapt in to ostensibly save him.
One of Bistany's acquisitions were the ten cubs you see below. According to the Gate, that's Bistany himself printing the cubs. Just a few years later, Bistany, who said he "considered the well-being of the animals [his] top priority," passed away at the age of 45, due to "soaring blood pressure brought on by stress," the Weekly reports.
Geez, this sure took a turn, didn't it? Sorry about that. So, yeah, cute baby lions, tigers, and leopards! Just watch the video and forget all that bummer stuff I just wrote.