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Zoos: Pro or Con?

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:16 am
I am deeply divided on this subject. I worked for a number of years at a "good" zoo, one with great big green spaces for its animals and scads of eduction. I have been active in trying to improve "bad" zoos. I have read that people are much more willing to contribute money to save animals from extinction that they have seen at a zoo. I have read that in these days of amazing, true-to-life filmmaking, there is no reason that people should have to see the actual 3-D animal with their own eyes rather than watching a film of the animal happily going about its daily life in the wild.

What do you think?
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:23 am
Lord amighty, I could argue each side of this until I fell over and not betray my own feelings once...
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:25 am
I know, I know.

For what it's worth, here is an example of what I consider to be a "good" zoo:

http://www.durrellwildlife.org/index.cfm?a=6
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bobsmyth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:26 am
zoos: pro or con?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sozobe, I could kiss you. Zoos are sometimes the only chance some species have for survival. Reluctant as I am to have wild creatures caged the alternative which is exterminated is certainly less desirable. To my knowledge the only okapi left are in tne Ituri Forest. Approximately 30,000 are left 5,000 of which are in a wildlife preserve. The area has been the scene of fighting recently and I hate to think of what will happen to them.

The passenger pigeons in our own country have gone when once they darkened the sky. There are too many instances to list here but if zoos is what it takes more power to them.
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anastasia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:28 am
<smiles> patiodog - are you a libra? or just really shiva in disguise?

I think that the only zoo that is good is one that is done well. But I'm not any kind of an expert on what "done well" means.

I like monkeys. I'm really happy to see them in zoos. I think a zoo without monkeys is no zoo at all. That's the selfish five-year-old in me. I think it's good that city kids can see animals.

I'm kind of more of a wildlife park proponent than a zoo proponent, I guess, because it's so hard to "do" a zoo well.

I don't know.

Those are just some random opinions.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:40 am
(cancer, but with libra rising and a libra moon. had my chart done at someone else's behest once; didn't really suit me at all.)

pulled from neanderthal thread, the only thing i put there on this topic that seems to work out of context...
patiodog wrote:
It's always the orangutans that get me. Fiercely intelligent, and also fiercely private, so they seem able to recognize their predicament and inclined to loathe it. The big cats, too, seem to get kind of crazy -- but they're cats, so they probably start out that way, prowling, pacing...
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bobsmyth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:41 am
zoos: pro or con?
Thought I'd give a link to AZA American zoo and aquarium site for those looking for more info.

http://www.aza.org/FindZooAquarium/
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sozobe
 
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Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:54 am
anastasia, yeah, how to "do" a zoo well (no comments, Slappy) could probably use some definition. I agree it's difficult.

The gorillas get me too, patiodog, in addition to the animals you already mention. We go to the Brookfield zoo fairly often, which is a medium zoo -- not great not terrible -- and the gorillas are tough. Walking around this bare cement "mountain", hard-to-escape stench of piss, the silverback laying there not making eye contact, the adolescent sitting on the bare branch at the top of the mountain, shooting you disconcertingly subtle glances... It's thrilling, indeed, to be so close, to see the baby's little wrinkly hands gripping his mother's fur, and I would be sad if I couldn't see them anymore. But it's sad TO see them.

bobsmyth, I agree that conservation is the thing that makes zoos noble. But I can't decide if that's really the best way to do it.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:55 am
Adults as well as children need exposure to reality--real animals housed as creatively and lovingly as possible.

After all, if photographs and movies are enough, why not film the wilderness for a permanent record and then the wilderness itself can be dispensed with.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 11:58 am
Do you remember the governorship of Ronald Reagan in CA, Noddy? "You've seen one redwood, you've seen them all."
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bobsmyth
 
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Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 12:06 pm
zoos : pro or con
Oops! I was going to put in endangered species site. Well, here it is.

http://eelink.net/EndSpp/organizations-speciesrecoveryprograms-zoos.html

I understand as in everything else there are dedicated programs and underachievers. My philosophy is something is better than nothing. Certainly no one will do anything if there no information or programs to procure it. As you may have guessed this is near and dear to my heart.
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steissd
 
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Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 12:16 pm
In my opinion, there are no grounds for objection against the properly maintained zoos. The animals being fed regularly, they get veterinary services, they are not coerced doing anything they are not supposed to (unlike the situation with the circus animals).
More, zoos contribute to preserving rare species that can get extinguished in their natural habitat due to different reasons.
Zoos permit the people to see rare and exotic animals without undertaking expensive trips to Africa or Australia. What can be wrong with this?
Well, I would not advise bringing small kids to the zoos: animals are not taught appropriate manners, and small kids tend to copy different stuffs uncritically...
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 12:16 pm
We have a pretty good zoo in Toronto which is dedicated, like good zoos are, to the preservation of rare species, and also raising awareness about animals in general. I also saw a horrible zoo on 'Crocodile Hunter' where the Irwin team was called in to do animal rescues. If it is done well, I think a zoo can be a good thing. I would rather see animals in a zoo than in a circus, and don't even get me started on dancing bears or the illegal animal organ trade Mad
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 12:28 pm
Good point Noddy, about the wilderness, though I like films about those too. Wink Sometimes a person just needs to see an animal, up close and personal, to understand. So many people are squeamish... they don't want to be in the wilderness because there aren't flush toilets; they don't want to really get close to an animal because (yes!) they do have a fragrance.

I am of two, three... no several minds about this. Maybe one for each type of animal.

Sozobe, I haven't gone to your link yet, but I have nearly every one of Gerald Durrell's books. I've been reading him since he was a young man! His vision was amazing and told in the most humorous of ways. Very down-to-earth.

Gorillas, orangutangs, and chimpanzees... truly agonizing to see. Also, the wolves and the big cats. It is pitiful. I very rarely go to a zoo anymore. Let's see, last time was in Tucson a year ago with some friends from abuzz. If the cages aren't reasonably clean and the animals living in an open area with access to the outside, I just can't stay. It is too painful. The mountain lion and especially the wolves at Tucson were very hard to see.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 12:36 pm
See, keeping a mountain lion I don't entirely understand. Where I'm from there are plenty of them, and I've seen at least in the wild in my life (in addition to stumbling across a couple of half-eaten kills, which is more chilling, somehow). Why imprison an animal that lives free nearby.

On the other hand -- perhaps it's most important for people to be able to examine these animals in relative safety, since their own lawns and roads have a direct impact on them...
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 12:48 pm
On the positive side I think that the lion would otherwise have been shot (as many are) and it had a fabulous cage, one of the largest at that zoo. There with a den high up in the rocks that only it could get to and places where it could be completely hidden. There was a double glass window to its den, what a nice cool spot for the creature.

The zoo I mentioned is not the Reid Park Zoo of Tucson, but the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It does have a good program for education, concentrates on a specific region (which I like), and has helped in the re-introduction of animals into the wild. I recommend it, but be sure and dress for the weather. Diane was there, she'd remember.
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bobsmyth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 02:15 pm
zoos: pro or con?
I found this link that lists the efforts of the San Diego Zoo to help endangered species around the worldL

http://www.sandiegozoo.org/conservation/field_projects.html
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Equus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 02:34 pm
Zoos certainly aren't the best place for wild animals. But if by distressing a few animals you can promote the welfare of their species, maybe it is a good trade-off.

The thing is, most people WON'T willingly watch a video about Thompson's Gazelle or Snow Leopards or whatever, but they will go to a zoo. When they come to a zoo, they can actually see that such animals really do exist and aren't just some computer-generated special effect in Tarzan movies. Seeing the animals live and upclose, and maybe even looking one straight in the eye; can change people from being unconcerned about some animal they'll never see, to a person at least EXPOSED to the rich diversity of life, and maybe even make them take an active interest in preserving endangered species.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 04:18 pm
I think the looking straight in the eye is an important point, Equus. That whole feeling of "this animal is looking at me! ME!" is very different from watching a video.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Fri 16 May, 2003 04:37 pm
...especially when they're licking their lips...
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