Zoo Anger

I wanted to draw attention to something I’ve noticed a bit lately, and that is how some people can be really disrespectful at zoos.

I want to emphasize that this is not in reference to young children getting excited at the zoo, these kids were a little older and should have known better (or be taught by their parents). And of course this is not in reference to all children, I love kids!

 

I went to the Zoo yesterday with my family, which was an overall enjoyable day. However two incidents made me quite frustrated and upset.

The first was while watching the orangutans. I was kneeling on the ground while this younger orangutan was throwing paper and rolling around, which was a lovely moment to watch. A young child then came screaming in, started trying to open then door to the pen, and then proceeded to bang against the window where the orangutan was. He was banging against it very loudly, and started screaming out to the animal. What is so frustrating about this situation, is that he was not told off by his parents, being definitely old enough to be told how this would be scary for the animal. Of course, you never know family situations, it just seemed to me that they really didn’t care.

The second incident was in the butterfly house – a warm greenhouse filled with exotic plants and hundreds of butterflies. There were these three girls, I would say young teenagers, who were being incredibly disrespectful. They were opening the gates into the gardens and standing up on the bars, and jumping up and trying to ‘clap’ and ‘hit’ the butterflies. It is encouraged not to pick them up, but if you’re still or hold your hand out, there is a chance that they will land on you if they like. I honestly could not believe how these girls, who were more than old enough to know better, were acting! (Thankfully, a young man told them off, saying how this was cruel towards the butterflies – my faith in humanity was restored)

 

Obviously not everyone has the same love and appreciation for animals, I would just hope that if you are going to the zoo, you actually have an interest in seeing them. I think some people forget, even though those animals are in enclosures, they still deserved to be treated with respect! We are lucky enough to live in a time where a lot of zoos are progressive, providing the animals with care, where we can see them in a replica of their natural habitat. (I wrote about why these kinds of zoos should be seen in a positive light, after watching an insightful documentary, which you can read hereHowever, just because they are in captivity, we are not superior to them.

To me, zoos are places for conservation, breeding programs, and providing us with more knowledge about the world’s animals. They are not a place we can go to gawk at the creatures behind a fence.

 

Sorry for the negative rant post, I just needed to get my anger and frustrations out.

Have you had any similar experiences while out in public? Let me know.

 

To leave it on a more positive note! I was lucky enough to witness two elephants showing love towards each other when they were put in their sleeping area. They reached their trunks through the bars of the other’s pen, and nuzzled at each other! It was such a sweet moment, and I felt very fortunate to see these magnificent creatures behaving this way.

Jess xx

 

Visiting Werribee Zoo & How you can fight Animal Extinction

At the end of last moth, my parents took me out to Werribee Zoo for the first time as a (very belated) birthday present. I have wanted to visit Werribee Zoo for as long as I can remember, being an African styled, open range zoo. Plus, since they announced the birth of new lion cubs, one of my favourite animals, I just had to go! I have had a love for lions and Africa since I watched The Lion King as a young kid, so I today was a very exciting day for me.

I was so excited seeing the lion family! The little cubs were so cute, the lioness’ were beautiful, and the male was just gorgeous! It was around the afternoon that we saw them, and they were all having a sleep in the sun. So unfortunately they weren’t bounding around being cute, but I was amazed none the less at seeing such beautiful creatures (we sat there for so long just watching them)

I was also very lucky to have the opportunity to do an animal encounter, and feed the giraffes! And what an experience that was! They are magnificent creatures (and even bigger than I would have imagined!) First we got to feed them acacia branches, and they were so strong! I really loved feeding them vegetables out of my hand, because you had more of a connection with them, and they were quite gentle.
The keepers also took us on a tour of other areas of the giraffe enclosure, and told us all about how they are looked after, which was really interesting.
The encounter was $50 and ran for 90 minutes – I can definitely say you get your money worth!

 

I took a lot of photos of all the beautiful animals at the zoo, so I hope you enjoy them 🙂
*The first 2, and the meerkat on the rock were taken by my dad

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I had a really lovely day out at the zoo with my family. The animals I was most excited to see were the lions and the wild dogs, as well as the new baby zebra and baby meerkats, but I loved seeing them all! I also really enjoyed going on a safari ride around the zoo, it had a nice African vibe. And of course, being so close to the giraffes was a truly amazing experience.

I also really want to mention about being a Zoo Member. I became one at the start of this year, and it costs around $7 a month (or you can pay yearly), which gives you unlimited entry to Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healsville Sanctuary in Victoria. I’m always happy to visit the zoo, so this definitely saves money. A well as that, money goes towards conservation and helping endangered animals. I love knowing that I am assisting such a great cause, and being a part of something I am so passionate about – all while being able to visit magnificent creatures.

Another great way to show your support is through ‘Beads for Wildlife’. By purchasing these beautiful, handmade bead products, you can support families and endangered wildlife in Northern Kenya. Such a great cause – I bought a little giraffe and my mum bought an elephant.

The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves 

– Jane Goodall

Jess xx


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Should we close our Zoos – A Response to a Conflicting Issue

The other night, I watched (majority) of a documentary called ‘Should We Close Our Zoos?’. The topic of whether or not animals should be kept in a zoo is a heavily debated issue.
I love having the opportunity to see animals up close, and I am also extremely passionate about their welfare, so this issue has always been a conflicting one for myself. Yet, this documentary really helped clarify where I stand.

Host, Liz Bonnin, wonderfully and professionally explored both the pros and cons of zoos and aquariums, and spoke to a range of experts in the field including zoo keepers, conservationists, and primateologist Jane Goodall.
Conservation and care, versus freedom and behaviour were the contrasted ideas featured, and I can definitely understand both.

Sadly there are of course horrible sides to zoos. Footage of a giraffe being culled and fed to lions was shown in a Copenhagen zoo, and is said to be shamelessly carried out there. Yes, this is something that occurs regularly in nature, however in my opinion, not only is this a cruel practice, but is not how a zoo should be run.

They also spoke about the controversy surrounding Tilikim, the Orca famous from the documentary ‘Blackfish’. Unfortunately as I am typing this post, we have only heard a few days ago that Tilikim has sadly passed away. He died in captivity at 36 years old, half the life expectancy of a Killer Whale, apparently suffering from serious health issues. The whale was brought to seaworld after being taken off his mother as just a calf, meaning he spent his whole life away from a natural habitat and being used as a form of entertainment.

Tilikim become known after being involved in the deaths of 3 people, which is of course a terrible tragedy, but were these behavioural issues natural instinct, or a result from spending a life in captivity?

However, Zoos can be a way of protecting animals from dangers such as poachers or environmental changes, or even using science and breeding programs to save a species from becoming extinct.
Obviously comparing to the state of zoos many years ago, these places today are much kinder, and people have much more knowledge about providing sufficient living areas. Not the small, concrete cages animals were viewed in years ago.

One part of the show that really spoke to me was the critical case of the Northern White Rhino. Bonnin went and saw one of the 5 remaining Rhinos left in the world, and it absolutely broke my heart. The amazing part was that they were trying many methods such as breeding and stem cell research to try and re-populate these beautiful animals. This could not be done simply in the wild or without zoo programs.
According to other sources, there are sadly on 3 Northern Rhino’s left. We have to come to face the horrible truth that we may loose another incredible species. Action needs to be taken early, not before it’s too late!

Essentially, as started as an argument in the documentary, I am saying that zoos should be focusing on the animals best interest. Through continuing to have appropriate living areas, proper care, and being respectful to the animals, not treating them as simply a form of entertainment or viewing tool. We should be preserving all the incredible creatures that we share a planet with, and as long as animal welfare and conservation are the main priority of zoos, then I support them

If you are interested in viewing the full documentary, it is a BBC made program, and you can watch a preview of it here

Remember, we need to use our voices to help make a difference to those who cannot speak – make our zoos conservation programs, not a collection of animals to speculate.

Jess xx

*All images courtesy of Google Images*