Friday 25 March 2016

Sanctuaries or showbiz: what's the future of zoos?

 While most zoos in the US and Europe have moved away from cramped cages the tension between displaying captive animals and a scientific purpose persists

Wednesday 23 March 2016 17.14 GMT
Last modified on Wednesday 23 March 201620.57 GMT

It hasn’t been a great month for zoos and aquariums. Seaworld finally bowed to pressure to end its captive orca breeding program, three US zoos were criticized for secretly flying 18 elephants out of Africa and zoo keepers in Calgary accidentally killed an otter with a pair of pants, adding to a list of mistakes that includes giving a knife to a gorilla.

These unrelated events have provoked questions about the modern role of zoos and what, if any, future they should have. While most zoos in the US and Europe have done away with cramped, empty, concrete dungeons and embraced a message of conservation, the difference between the vast natural ranges of elephants, whales and polar bears and their zoo environments remains stark.

“Animals collected from the wild are doomed to a rather dull life – a sort of life they don’t deserve,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. The not-for-profit group launched a legal action to stop three US zoos from importing 18 elephants from Swaziland, only, as Feral puts it, for the trunked beasts to be “whisked away at midnight” before the court hearing. The zoos maintain this was for the elephants’ welfare.

Dallas zoo will take several elephants and put them in an 11-acre area. Omaha will put them in four acres. How on Earth will they divide that space? It’s rather pitiful. A zoo isn’t an ecosystem. If zoos could breed elephants and whales properly, they wouldn’t have to steal them from nature. It’s nefarious to do that and then confine them in a tourist trap.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails