A recent video posted on the Animalreset Facebook page captures the reality of life for wild animals living in captivity. The footage shows a clear indentation in the floor of the dusty enclosure, caused by the endless pacing of a distraught rhino. There is no doubt, this rhino is suffering from severe boredom and stress in a condition called zoochosis.
The term “zoochosis” was coined in 1992 by Bill Travers to characterize the obsessive, repetitive behaviors exhibited by animals kept in captivity. Some of the abnormal behaviors that have been documented associated with this deep form of mental distress include self-mutilation, vomiting, excessive grooming, coprophagia (consuming excrement), random biting, twisting or nodding of the neck and head, weaving back and forth, and yes, mindless pacing.
This disorder isn’t called zoochosis by accident either. We all grew up believing that zoos helped animals, that the animals there must have been rescued and can’t be returned to the wild. If only those innocent thoughts were the case! While there may be some instances of this situation, they are actually few and far between. Zoos primarily exist to make money and often either capture their animals from the wild or procure them through captive breeding programs. Life in captivity can never compare to that in the wild and it’s no surprise that many captive wild animals fall prey to this form of deep mental distress.
If you find this video disturbing, the best thing you can do is spread the truth about zoos and boycott them at all cost. When people stop paying to see animals in captivity, they can finally all be free.
For more about the truth behind zoo captivity, check out these articles:
- 5 Things We Need to Stop Telling Ourselves About Zoos
- 7 Lessons We Really Should Be Learning from Zoos
- Zoochosis: What Really Happens To Animals In Captivity