Sunday, June 19, 2005

Outside the cage

Do I like zoos? It depends. I haven't been on the other side of the bars, so how would I know what it feels like from the perspective of the inmates? But this story is moderately heartening.
From The Financial Express:
"From being mere amusement park where wild animals can be shown to children, zoos in India are fast turning into institutes where not only endangered species are saved but various research works are also being carried out.
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has come up with a novel initiative to improve the management of zoos and give them a new look, besides converting them into wildlife research centres.

As I said in a previous post, I'm not a big fan of zoos, especially the kind that don't protect the animals from animals like us. But as long as you still have zoos, it's worth fighting for better conditions for the animals who have to live there.
In The Chicago Tribune, Charles Madigan sums up the love-hate relationship many of us have with zoos:
"Of course, I have a conflict of interest because I have been in love with the zoo for 26 years. When we moved to Chicago from Moscow in 1979, Lincoln Park Zoo was where my little boys and their mother went to escape apartment living and city noise. I can't go there today without seeing all three of my sons as infants, scrambling around the pathways and staring, absolutely fixated, at the chimps and big cats.
They knew the now-departed Otto when the lowland gorilla was Chicago's biggest celebrity.
That being said, I still don't like the idea of zoos, particularly for large animals. Elephants need vast spaces for roaming. Big cats do indeed need red meat that comes from a kill, not from a kitchen. Wild birds have to fly."

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