The book 'Life of Pi' gives an interesting argument for animals in zoos. Basically it states that animals in the wild roam large territories because they must do so in order to survive. If an animal is given the necessities of life, ample space, food, water, shelter and companionship they are content to live in a zoo type or much smaller space. If animals are given a virgin space, that will eventually become a zoo, each animals will mark its territory and be content. Frequently animals that escape a zoo, will often return or will not venture to far from thier home. Just like a dog unleashed in a yard or farm, they will rarely roam beyond their own borders. ( I realize there are exceptions to every rule)
However, caging animals is another case altogether. It's despicable and often caged animals show sign of mental illness. They will walk the same path, pacing over and over in the same manner endlessly. Almost as if they are in solitary confinement and really they are, it's sad.
Prey animals must be dominated on a consitant basis. A lion trainer must always enter a cage before all the animals are released, one by one, to show dominance, if the routine is reversed, even once, the cat will take advantage and will fight to become or consider itself the dominate creature.
PS, I highly recommend the book, it's beautifully written and is a most imaginative read.
Ceili is right. I haven't read the book, but animals in zoos tend to mark off their immediate environment as their territoty, even if that territory seems to have been artificially inscribed by man.
Just last week a young gorilla escaped from its cage at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, slightly injuring atwo-year-old child and a 16-year-old zoo employee. The gorilla never attempted to leave the immediate park area although it could probably have loped down a trash-strewn alley and out of sight. (The park is smack in the middle of a residential area.)
It was recaptured just yards from its cage after being shot with tranquilizer darts.
I read some long article years ago about elephant rampages, which I think happen in certain hormonal periods, and are called something like "musti". (Sorry, I am not in the mood for googling to check as I type this.)
I have very mixed feelings about zoos. I was horrified a long time ago seeing hippos in some horrid old zoohouse in the San Francisco zoo years ago, and then slightly more recently, horrified by a big black panther pacing in a smallish cage at the LA zoo. Subsequent to that our office was involved in initial design stages for the LA children's zoo renovation, and one of our associates was involved in some of the new-thinking zoo design in several US zoos. To some extent they do have an educational service, and they do, I gather, help rescue some animals in dire straits. Life is often extended from the natural life in the wild. We have a 56 yr old chimp named Bill at our local tiny zoo, which is strangely charming. (The zoo, I mean. Bill isn't strange..)
I have always been uncomfortable about such acts as Siegfried and Roy's, and have never gone to see one. Still, I hope he makes it...
From CNN.com: Roy Horn, half of the Las Vegas duo Siegfried & Roy, was able to move his hands, feet, and give a "thumbs-up" signal Monday, hospital officials said, three days after being mauled by one of his tigers during a show.
I think there are good arguments made for zoos, but they need to bring them up to humane standards. The big problem is people trying to give animals human qualities or thinking they can drag an animal into an unnatural environment and excpect them to have manners.
I've been watching some of the old footage of S&R's act. Loud music, strobing lights, being raised up high in cages, laughing and applauding audiences. I wouldn't bring a baby into that environment. It's a miracle the cats put up with it that long.
Then there are the elephants in the circus. And the elephant rides. It's not natural. I don't think those wild animals are here for our entertainment.
I've read that S&R have been given alot of credit for raising awareness of the rare tigers. Even National Geographic has recognized them. I hope after this they will retire the act and perhaps dedicate their lives to education or use their many riches to help wildlife.
I believe they can do some good and hope for Roy's recovery. They seem to be very well respected in their community.
By the way, Sigfried will give Larry King an exclusive tonight.
I once got attacked by a huge wild animal. This thing was a beast.
Then I realized I just got drunk and went "hoggin'."
So, if anyone if really really curious, that old article that was soooo informative on elephants was very likely in the New Yorker, circa mid eighties. I myself do not go there, it seems quite the task to find old NYer articles. I cut out a lot of them at one time, sorry I trashed them in one of my serious though rare housekeeping forays.
Roy did tell them not to destroy the tiger.
I assumed that since I've never heard of a situation like this where they let the animal live. Good for him :-)
I didn't like Siegfried and Roy, because they put upon the special animals.
No More Shows For Siegfried & Roy
The days of Siegfried and Roy's spectacular stage show are reportedly over.
A spokeswoman says the duo will never return to the stage, following Roy Horn's mauling by a tiger Oct. 3, 2003.
Claudia Dressler tells a German weekly (Neue Post) that Horn has "good and bad days." But she says nobody knows if he'll ever be the same again - and that the one certainty is the duo will never return to the stage.
The Las Vegas show was shut down last year after the attack. The weekly reports Horn is still using a wheelchair, but is able to walk several hundred steps during therapy with a walker.
In March Horn said he was on the mend and was working hard with a physical therapist.
"You know, I almost had two feet in the grave, but now I'm doing better," the weekly Bunte quoted Horn as saying in a telephone interview from his Las Vegas home.
Roy's stage partner, Siegfried Fischbacher, has downplayed Horn's injuries from the attack. He said a stroke Horn suffered afterward resulted from blood pressure medication that sometimes made him feel faint.
Fischbacher is working on an animated NBC series scheduled to debut in the fall about a family of white lions that perform in their show.
and of course
The Associated Press has learned the company behind the Siegfried and Roy magic show has refused to turn over video of last year's tiger attack on illusionist Roy Horn.
That's despite two federal subpoenas.
An official with the U-S Department of Agriculture told the A-P that Feld Entertainment won't hand over the footage. Feld is based in Vienna, Virginia.
Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, the U-S-D-A has been investigating the October attack in which Horn was mauled by a 300-pound tiger during a live performance in Las Vegas.
Horn survived the attack but suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, and the successful show closed.
U-S-D-A spokesman Jim Rogers said yesterday the probe into the tiger attack remains open, and confirmed that the show is under investigation for possible violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Feld Entertainment spokeswoman Shannon Pak declined comment because of the ongoing investigation.