What is it that intrigues us so much about animals? Especially exotic animals?
As a child, I remember taking class trips into the city to visit the zoo and being so excited that I could barely sleep the night before. And now, I see that same excitement in the eyes of my own children. Maybe it’s because of the rarity of so many of these animals to us Westerners, or maybe it’s because it lets us spend a short amount of time in a dream world of lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
But as adults, I hear an all-too-often refrain of sadness after we parents visit zoos and other animal parks, perhaps because we come face-to-face with the reality that we are in essence paying an admission to view prisoners with a life sentence.
This year, the Toronto zoo lost a long and difficult fight against keeping its elephants. A fight that was led by none other than Bob Barker. At first I was sympathetic to the arguments for keeping them here, after all, they’d been here for years. But after watching a very interesting documentary on the transportation of these animals to their new home in California, and learning that they are used to travelling dozens of kilometres per day vs being penned up in a 1sq kilometre pen, my opinion of the battle quickly changed.
We also have a water park called Marineland, which had come under extreme scrutiny over the past year for the horrific conditions in which it kept its animals. Over the span of several weeks, nearly every animal trainer at Marineland had quit and confirmed that the allegations were true.
The only positive I feel that I can take from these visits with my children is that they can be a great learning experience for our young generation. It gives them the opportunity to explore parts of our world that they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to do, and it potentially plants the seed for the next Jane Goodall.
I know that many of you live in parts of the world where there are renowned zoos and sanctuaries, so it would be fantastic to get your opinions and insights.
As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂