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Do You Like Zoos? 
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Post Do You Like Zoos?
That incident with the jaguar going on a killing rampage at a New Orleans zoo reminded me of how long it's been since I went to a zoo, and the reasons why I haven't. What do you think, can caging animals in unnatural conditions be justified on the basis of benefits to humans?



Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:15 am
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Post Re: Do You Like Zoos?
There sure are a lot of stories of big cats escaping their zoo enclosures and mauling to death other zoo animals, their human handlers or even zoo visitors. Clearly there is no guarantee that any zoo we visit is going to keep us safe. The odds may be low of an attack but there is definitely a chance.

I'm torn on this one. I love seeing animals up close and zoos are really my only chance to see wild animals live. But it is a bit unnerving to think of a dangerous animal getting out of its enclosure and killing me or my wife or son.

I'm pretty out of shape so I know I can't outrun a leopard. But on a positive note I can probably outrun many of the other zoo visitors. :lol:



Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:57 pm
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Post Re: Do You Like Zoos?
Right, you only need to outrun somebody else also fleeing the animal. My reason for not liking zoos has more to do with them not being good for animals. PETA has a lot to say about the subject, not surprisingly, and despite PETA's partisanship I tend to agree with many of their views. Confinement can make animals act insane; clearly the jaguar's behavior wasn't something we'd see from a wild jaguar. Zoos are tapering off in popularity because we're more aware of the complex needs of animals, needs that are perhaps never met in conditions of confinement. Conservation is often cited as benefiting from the efforts of zoos, but there are claims to the contrary. Zoos do little to preserve real habitats, which should be the focus of conservation, but they might make us think, falsely, that were it not for zoos, many species would have an even more difficult struggle.

I'm usually not big on virtual realities, but surely now our technology has made it possible for us to have a richer experience of animals in the world while watching video screens instead of through the bars of a cage.

You probably picked up on Noah Yuval Harari's verdict on humans' cruel dominance over animals, Chris. He was talking about domestication and industrial agriculture, but I have a feeling that he would see zoos as another example of us overwhelming the planet. Animals that can be dangerous to humans should be kept away from us in cages, is one message that zoos send.

Just up the road from me is the Smithsonian's Conservation and Research Center, 3,200 acres of open spaces that I would see as a better model than our tight-packed urban zoos. It's not a place that allows the public to enter except on one day of the year.



Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:47 pm
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Post Re: Do You Like Zoos?
I agree about the torn feeling...in a zoo I can see animals that I would never be able to see anywhere else, but the more I have learned about animals the more I think that those animals should never be kept in a zoo. Especially aquatic animals. I read the book that inspired the Blackfish documentary about killer whales (not whales, not killers) by accident. I used to love Seaworld...now...I can't believe how much they lied! Well, I can believe it. Working there is a dream job and the people there love the animals and don't want to get fired because that would mean being separated from friends. Meh. Cows are delicious. And how bout that overly friendly dolphin that closed a beach in France?



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Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:50 am
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Post Re: Do You Like Zoos?
If zoos do help in some way to aid conservation of animals in the wild, I'd have to admit they should remain. But that function is disputed. I'm also willing to admit to a certain romanticism about life in the wild, where, it could be argued, the reality for animals is life "poor, nasty, brutish, and short." In Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard talks about the tough wear and tear that animals undergo in the process of surviving. She sites another writer who lauds the benefit to zoo-kept animals of veterinary care, longer life-spans, and constant nutrition. There's something to be said for that, I guess, and also for keeping humans from being still more detached from the natural world. Ideally, captivity should depend on the individual circumstances of the animal. Sort of ridiculous to keep raptor birds in an aviary or tigers in a cage. The sadness of seeing a great ape imprisoned behind glass is beyond telling.



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Post Re: Do You Like Zoos?
I personally have never cared for zoos. I was a summer camp director many moons ago and one of our field trips was to the LA Zoo.
I was uncomfortable the entire time. The animals looked frustrated, unhappy, and sometimes downright miserable in their cages.

If, as DWill says, in some way zoos aid in the conversation of some animals, I'd have to see the evidence for it before I'd throw my support into it. And even if that was the case I would ust be okay with it sparingly.

Other than that I hope one day zoos are done away with completely.



Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:33 am
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