After our recent trip to Yellowstone, our family was pretty excited about wildlife in general, and we decided to visit the Bronx Zoo. We went in excited to see animals, read about all the wildlife conservation programs, and were stunned by the enormous size and greenery! We saw tigers playing with each other, there was a polar bear a few feet away from us, even zebras and giraffes running around..
After the initial excitement settled, we started wondering how animals found it- would a polar bear be able to deal with the four seasons in New York city? How does a zebra that runs across miles and miles adjust to such a small area? How are the chimpanzees acting so human like, even posing for cameras? Can the animals see the people staring at them, how do they deal with being watched and sometimes mocked?
After I came back home, I searched online for articles and I found this one from PETA that broke my heart: http://www.peta.org/living/animal-friendly-fun/the-reality-of-zoos.aspx
The article made me realize we have kept animals away from their natural surroundings for our own selfish amusement. Animals are bored and lonely even depressed away from their homes and natural habitats. They develop a disease ‘zoochosis’ and even show signs of insanity.
Zoos can justify it as wildlife conservation-with the rampant deforestation, the animals are losing their natural habitat and this is an attempt to protect the species. But then again, can’t we preserve the animals in a more natural setting- maybe have a wildlife conservatory? Can’t we can look at them by being a part of their world, instead of trying to make them a part of ours?
I went to the zoo with excitement on the prospect of looking at animals up close, but looking at the animals and reading the articles made a deep impact on my mind- I feel guilty for depriving the animals of their freedom for a closer look for us.
Here are some pictures of the animals- take a look, and let me know if you think they look happy?