Thoughts on Zoo's

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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,394
1,360
Berlin
I think that most of the zoo animals are domesticated during generations and have no problem to live there.

Although they belong to a wild living species they are the pets of the people who work there.

May be that they are a bit stressed at a sunday, because it's too noisy with all the visitors, but in the week they just see always the same old and quiet persons apart from a school class here and there.

And some animals and visitors obviously become friends. I guess most larger mammals and birds in the zoo have such a human friend, that they expect to come along regularly.

Of course there also had been animals that became crazy in the zoo, but I think that are rare exceptions.
 

Lean'n'mean

Nomad
Nov 18, 2020
432
186
France
Although the animals in zoos may never have seen their natural habitat I don't believe they have been domesticated in the true sense of the word. Most retain their ancestral instincts & their physical & physicological needs cannot be satisfied in captivity, however big their cage/enclosue.
The stereotypical behaviour many mammals & particualary predators display, betrays serious pychological damage, they literally go mad since their intelligence, instincts & natural behaviour have no outlet.
Zoos have certainly improved since I was a nipper & a greater importance is given to an animal's mental well being by enriching their living space but although it may ease the conscience of some visiters & zoo staff, it isn't enough.
I'm not convinced of a zoo's function of preserving rare or near extinct species, since their natural enviroments have either been destroyed or are threatened by human activity & releasing them into the 'wild' would be pointless, if not impossible.
Saving living wild animals as museum pieces in artifical enclosures so that humans can be entertained for an hour or two between visits to the on site cafés & souvenir shops, doesn't strike me as either moral or viable in the long term.
Times they are a changin'
 
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JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
12,721
1,341
Stourton,UK
I'm not convinced of a zoo's function of preserving rare or near extinct species, since their natural enviroments have either been destroyed or are threatened by human activity & releasing them into the 'wild' would be pointless, if not impossible.
Well it happens all the time so it’s not impossible. Far from it. Pops gave a prime example. And I’ve been involved in at least five projects where it’s been successful. Habitats can be reformed, and that is happening all the time too. Our lowland heath, marshland and salt flats for example. It’s an uphill struggle and sometimes we are fighting against the tide. But it’s better to do that than just give up and do nothing.

Zoos used to be an attraction to make money for their owners. That’s not so much the case anymore. Visitors help preserve species and get people invested in their protection. Without them and being distanced from them, less people would care. We really don’t need that. It’s very different to see things in the flesh than it is to see pictures in books or on TV.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
8,516
2,132
47
Exeter
I'd happily pay £30 more a ticket to ensure Zoo animals are kept in large well maintained enclosures with healthy gene pool stocks and breeding programmes.

Because £30 is a lot less than the probably minimum £3000 you would probably have to pay to travel to South Africa and see the same animals there IF that was the only option.


But most of the public make just a noise regarding cost vs quality , but lack the conviction to drive it home.

Most want MORE for LESS - and things just don't work out that way.
 

Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
245
144
Devon
V interesting and as others have stated, a difficult subject.

Over the years I have visited quite a few zoos and "water park/aquariums"..off the top of my head, in a vaguely chronological order:
-London Zoo when I was knee high to a grasshopper.
-Ocean park in HK - there was a killer whale.
-Longleat.
-Paignton zoo when I more than knee high.
-A French aquarium, near St Malo (ish?)
-An aquarium in Vancouver in ~2012ish
-Durrell "zoo" in Jersey
-Plymouth aquarium

London zoo I only really remember a nellyfant frisking my dad's pockets for peanuts and wiping it's trunk on his nice beige jacket he was wearing.. and a gorilla vomiting then eating it again... I was probably not massively aware of the concept of captive animals at that stage.

Ocean park in HK, again I was young and in awe of the killer whale, but retrospectively I dislike the captivation of those beasts!

Longleat I recall enjoying a lot, I liked seeing the animals off doing their own thing.

Paignton zoo I remember being more aware of the conservation side of things at this stage. The zoo itself highlighted it's reasoning for having a rhino and all, but again I still think I was a bit shocked by its small enclosure.

The French aquarium I recall was mostly just fish.... Interesting to view.

The Vancouver aquarium made me disappointed in the "advanced" world... In fact Vancouver and I guess Canada on a whole, I felt had some catching up to do (puppies in shop windows n all). But the aquarium I wasn't keen to see a beluga whale backing and forthing in its tank, again, impressive to witness the amazing creature, but it didn't feel right to see it in a tank.

Durrell zoo in Jersey was something else actually. It was founded by Gerald Durrell who (if anyone has watched the series on TV) grew up in Corfu and as a little boy was fascinated in animals and wildlife. Their ethos seems to be more focussed on the small animals that no other zoos tend to care about. That being said, they did have an orangutan or two that were looking a tad moody the last time I went there. But the whole place is done very nicely and it's pretty quiet all round.

Plymouth aquarium, again, fish n the like, but there is a turtle in there that looks a bit fed up... Just goes round and round and round.

Not what you asked for granted but that was my thoughts on the matter at the time.

From a wider point of view, they definitely do help to generate interest in wildlife which can in turn generate money for the animals and can inspire young uns to pursue conservation careers... So that's all good... But then again, if I was stuck in a cage with thousands of screaming children banging the glass every single day, I think I'd try and figure a way to get out and eat one...
 

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