The first ever captive breeding of Australia’s famous black-swans was by Josephine Boneparte. That’s right… Mrs Napoleon.
Turns out Napoleon and Josephine shared a fascination for Australia which was–back then–deemed the most mysterious and desireable place on the planet (heh…how times change). The Boneparte’s funded an exploration by french artist Nicolas Baudin to come and see what we had, take a bunch of it and hot foot it back to Paris.
Baudin and his crew managed to a) encounter and trade with native aboriginal people amicably and without loss of life, and b) keep 200 plants and countless animals alive on the long journey home to France. On wine-soaked bread, supposedly.
After arrival in France the male and female black swan specimens bred, making theirs the first ever captive breeding of the species (Cygnus atratus). Swans are fiercly loyal and monogomous, so it’s lucky that Baudin’s crew caught up an already bonded pair or they might never have had any fluffy grey cygnets.
More info (and an exhibition…)