I’ve visited a few zoos and safari parks in my time and if I’m honest I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of them. However there is always a pang of guilt associated with these trips, so why do I still do it?
Personally, as I’ve come to learn more about some of the animals kept in zoos and better understand how they live their life in the wild, my repulsion at the containment of these magnificent beasts grows. The old Glasgow Zoo was awful, with the tigers cage being far far too small for an animal that likes to roam and walks miles each day, and don’t even start me on the polar bear enclosure.
Yet despite all that I gladly took my nieces and nephews to Paignton Zoo a couple of weeks ago, making me a very large and unlikeable hypocrite. Firstly it was not without some manner of research, Paignton Zoo has a reasonable policy when it comes to enclosure sizes and conservation, and whilst it’s not on the same scale as a safari park say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Secondly, the likelihood of any nieces and nephew being able to see many of these animals in the wild (or at all) so from an educational point of view I think it held some benefit, even though they won’t have realised it.
However it does make me uncomfortable but I’m certain that most of you realise, or you should by now, that I fall largely into that category of citizen who does care and consider these things but is willing to sway his principles, well maybe bend is a better word. I’m not sure what type of person that makes me but I’m comfortable(ish) with that.
So, what are your views? Zoos? Good or bad? What about safari parks? Or are they all just bad bad places?