4 Zoo's - Love Them or Leave Them?

Several years ago I was in Berlin and went to the zoo. It was a ridiculously hot day and I remember standing at the polar bear exhibit and thinking that it just didn't seem fair to have the bears there in that kind of heat. And there in lines the issues with zoo's. Last week a decision was reached to relocate the 3 elephants at the Toronto Zoo to another zoo or sanctuary in a better climate. Activists had urged the zoo to make this decision because of our cold winters. In the end the zoo made the decision because there just is not the budget to make the exhibit what it needs to be for the elephants to continue to be comfortable.

I have a love hate relationships with zoo's. I hate the idea of zoo's. Why do we even need them? Sure I never would have seen an elephant in person but what am I really seeing? I'm not seeing how they would typically act I presume. What I love about our local zoo is that it has conservation programs and aims to educate the public about the animals and their natural habitat. I believe that it is important to educate people about animals that are native to our country and those that are not so that they will understand how their actions can have an impact on these animals and their habitats. Do we need zoo's to do this? Can we be smarter about how we run these programs? Show video of the animals in their natural habitat rather than having them right there in an environment that is not natural or comfortable for them. Or have one zoo have the animals and another zoo stream live video of the animals at that zoo.

What do you think of zoo's? Not all are created equal so what is your local zoo like?

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  1. I've thought about this a lot myself. On the one hand, when my daughter is old enough, I'd love to take her to see the animals and learn about them at the zoo. On the other hand, I'm not sure if that's a good thing. Do I want her to learn that it's okay to take these animals out of their natural habitat like this? It's hard to say. I do think that most zoos intentions are good and many take in animals that are sick or were pets and had no where else to go. It's really a tough call.

  2. I agree Kimberley. It really is a tough call and I believe very dependent on the zoo itself.

  3. We also have the love hate relationship... but lean more on the hate. We hope to travel to places where we can see the animals in their natural habitat. it was amazing visiting the ruins in Palenque (Mexico) and hearing the howler monkeys in the jungle - I didn't even need to see them. Also while in India I saw lots of elephants (usually working with man - so not "natural" enviro), and monkeys swinging in the vines.
    Thats where its at... the experience of the animals in a climate where they belong.
    thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. I totally agree Rach. I think it is amazing to be able to experience the animals in their natural habitat. I think that there are other ways for kids to learn about them rather than just seeing them.

    When we were at the Ottawa museum they had fantastic displays about polar bears that taught us way more than the polar bear exhibit at the zoo.