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Jonch Cuspinera, Antoni

Granollers 1916 - Granollers 1992. Cultural Manager

Nature lover and enthusiast from an early age, in 1934 he moved to  Madrid to study pharmacy and studied botany with professor José Cuatrecasas.  The Spanish Civil War interrupted his studies, which he continued in Barcelona  once the dictatorship was established. Always interested in the cultural and  scientific development of Granollers, he participated and worked in several of  the city's organizations and administrations.

Between 1944 and 1957 he chaired the Agrupació Excursionista de Granollers (Hiking Association of Granollers); between 1947 and 1955 he worked as a teacher of natural sciences and chemistry at the Col·legi Oficial de Segona Ensenyança (Official Secondary Education School) of Granollers; between 1945 and 1958 he was curator and director of the Museum of Granollers . In the latter, his work represented the rebirth of the institution. Among other things, it is worth noting the first cataloging of the pieces of the fund, the creation of the Meteorological Station of Granollers (with the help of Marià Puig and Salvador Llobet) or the actions taken to safeguard the city's most important architectural elements.  His passion for promoting practical experiences in everything related to the world of science made him a pioneer in the introduction of the Escoles de la natura (Schools of Nature) to our country.

For thirty years he was director of the Barcelona Zoo, a post he held from 1956 until 1985. Joan Garriga and Antoni Arrizabalaga said that "the essence of the current zoo is the result of the improvements carried out under the direction of Antoni Jonch." These improvements can be illustrated with the start of the Theoretical-Practical School of the Barcelona Zoo, which shows its educational dedication or the modernization of the center and its expansion from 2 to 12 ha.

In 1984 the Zoo stopped depending on the Municipal Institute of Parks and Gardens to become a private company. At this point Jonch asked for the voluntary retirement from the post of director of the Barcelona Zoo. In 1982 he had already been appointed head of the Area of Natural Sciences at the Museum of Granollers. In this way he resumed his work at that institution and started, among others, a regular program of exhibitions dedicated to nature. In 1985 he was appointed director of the Museum, a position he held until 1992. During this period the Museum of Granollers-Natural Sciences at "La Tela" building became a reality, and the Documentation Center of the Montseny Natural Park was created in the sciences section, among other milestones.

Having been Secretary General of Ibero-American Association of Zoos and Member of the International Association of Zoos, in 1985 the Autonomous Government of Catalonia awarded him the Creu de Sant Jordi (Cross of St. George). It is also worth highlighting his insistence for the creation of the Montseny Natural Park, as can be seen in the book El Montseny: parque natural, published in 1953, twenty-four years before the adoption of the Special Plan of the Montseny Natural Park in 1977. 

Main works

  • El Montseny: parque natural (Jonch i Cuspinera, 1953)
  • La vida maravillosa de los animales ((Jonch i Cuspinera, 1969)
  • El Montseny i les seves quatre estacions (Jonch i Cuspinera, 1979)
  • Zoo de Barcelona: Educació i esplai ((Jonch i Cuspinera, 1982)
  • Memòries del Zoo. Entre l'anècdota i la història conviuen homes i animals(Jonch i Cuspinera, 1995)

For more information

  • Arrizabalaga, A. [et al.] (1994). Antoni Jonch. Fill predilecte. Granollers: Ajuntament de Granollers.
  • Jonch i Cuspinera, A. (1984). «Institució pública pedagògico-naturalista annexa al Parc Zoològic de Barcelona». Butlletí de la Institució Catalana d'Història Natural, núm. 50, pg. 295-307.
  • Jonch i Cuspinera, A. (1995). Memòries del Zoo. Entre l'anècdota i la història conviuen homes i animals. Barcelona: Proa.

Image gallery

Antoni Jonch i Cuspinera. Author unknown / Col·lecció Ajuntament de Granollers / AMGr - Arxiu d'Imatges.