Its been a good few years since I visited a Zoo. Back in 2006 Wil and I spent a long weekend in Berlin and one of the things we did was go to the Zoo there. Unfortunately the experience left us both feeling uneasy. Most of the animals we saw looked very institutionalized.Some were exhibiting repetitive behaviour such as pacing up and down and going round in circles. It made us feel very sad. Wil said he wouldn’t be visiting any Zoos again. Animals are meant to be where they belong~ living in the wild. I can see his point. There is absolutely no better feeling than seeing wildlife in its natural habitat. When I go out into the English countryside with my camera I love seeing our native creatures going about their business. And twice I have been fortunate enough to visit a friend in British Columbia, Canada and view magnificent beasts in the wild such as Bison, Moose, Elk, Coyote, Black bear, Golden Eagle and even a Mountain Lion. Special moments indeed.
Some years later we have young nephews and nieces and friends with kids. 🙂 When my mate Fi suggested we take her little girl to the zoo whilst our other halves were away biking I must admit I was pleased she asked. It would be interesting to see how the animals were looked after at our nearest zoo Blackpool Zoo. Our friend Jo and her two little ones joined us too.
It might be because it was a glorious sunny September day , but the animals we saw did all look content. I am no expert on institutionalized behavior so there was nothing obvious that I noticed. Of course there are probably so many signs I am totally clueless about. But we didn’t experience any animals looking distressed I am happy to report.
The children certainly enjoyed the zoo. It was Lydia’s ( aged 3) first time so the delight they took in the experience was of course contagious. What do you think about zoos ? Are they a fantastic way of conserving the world’s wildlife and enabling future generations to enjoy diverse species they wouldn’t normally get to see ? Do we in fact have a right to observe animals that are not native to our land at such close quarters when the money might be better spent towards national parks in their native countries where they can roam free without fear of hunting etc. What do you think?