Here at One Green Planet, we have always championed the message that no animal belongs in captivity – because zoos, regardless of whether or not they engage in conservation efforts, are all too often a site of untold suffering, boredom, and distress for the animals who live within them. Over the past few months, we have heard more and more stories illustrating just how ill-advised the idea of holding animals prisoner in tiny enclosures is.
For example, in November, a lion inexplicably killed a lioness he had known for many years in the Dallas Zoo – displaying levels of aggression that have not typically been observed in these animals in the wild. In December, U.K. captive-bred animals were termed “genetic disasters” because of successive generations of inbreeding.
A healthy male giraffe named Marius was killed just two days ago in Copenhagen Zoo because, zoo officials claimed, he was not “genetically valuable.” And Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia has been named “the zoo of death,” because of the appalling treatment meted out to its animals.
In the midst of all these horror stories, a voice of reason has emerged from someone who, although he does not own a conventional zoo, is nonetheless involved in the industry: Damian Aspinall, owner of Port Lympne and Howletts wild animal parks in Kent, England. He has recently told the UK’s Daily Express that he wants the zoo industry to be phased out over the next twenty to thirty years, because, “If you’re a true conservationist and you truly believe in nature, the ultimate goal is you don’t need zoos.”
He says, “If zoos did what was best for the animals, not what’s best for the public, they would be very different places. I absolutely feel sick in my stomach that zoos do animal shows. I come from a point of view where no animal should be here to entertain us … What we’re doing is culturalizing our children to say it’s OK that man is the dominant species. It’s just wrong. We need to de-culturalize the public and phase zoos out.”
In his own wildlife parks, Aspinall breeds endangered species with the ultimate goal of returning them to the wild – and animal shows are strictly forbidden. He also helps to run his late father, John Aspinall’s animal conservation charity, The Aspinall Foundation.
If you, too, would like to see zoos phased out, educate your family and friends on why they should be avoided, and sign this petition urging Indonesia’s president to close down the infamous “zoo of death” that is Surabaya Zoo.
Image Source: Andrew Skudder/Flickr
I do not believe that zoos should be stepped out as i believe they do a lot of great things endangered breeding programmes, needs for conservation and rehabilitation, education etc . I do believe that a higher environment standard should be bought in especially in some zoos around the world that are way below humane standards. Lets focus on the bigger problem and that is us humans destroying animals natural habitats more year by year so truth is that if humans dont stop destroying the natural world then zoos are going to be the only place that you may see some of these animals.
Rather than declare all zoos as “bad”, why not concentrate on those that really ARE bad, and *promote* those that have become sanctuaries that offer excellent enrichment programs, exhibits that provide the best living arrangements that consider what an animal needs and block the animal’s view of humans, and that provide legitimate education and conservation support? That type of zoo is rare, granted, but were it not for the “good” zoos, some animals would already be extinct.
What are you going to do with them now? Throw them back? Think they’ll survive? What a mess man has made of the Ceeator’s design.