My husband took the rest of the July 4th week off for vacation. We decided to go to the zoo to see the much advertised Penguin
exhibit. I was so disappointed. It was 91 degrees at 10 in the morning, but the Penguin exhibit would be cold, right? It wasn’t. Penguins live on snow and ice, right? Not necessarily. Admittedly I was expecting something a lot different than what I found.
The exhibit was a small glass window peering into a black box of rock, a small pool of water against the glass to see them swim, and five bored Penguins who appeared to be as confused as I was. I felt so sorry for them. Children were gathered around the window watching, waiting, hoping to see something they have never seen before, but the Penguins did not get the memo saying entertain above all costs. They looked scared. The hesitation to jump into the water was evident in their approach and retreat from the edge of the rocks. They could see those faces peering at them and they just weren’t sure it was safe. Finally one brave soul ventured out far enough that he either took the plunge or slipped in, but there he was swimming around to the children’s ahs. Then it was over. The magic was complete and the crowd moved on.
My husband complained about the cost of admission just to watch a swim routine, so we decided to give a once around the park walk. I became more and more depressed with each animal exhibit.
They looked miserable lying in their spaces. The attempt to create a natural environment is a nice thought but is it enough? They still looked like convicted prisoners to me. Eagles sitting on perches instead of flying to the top of trees and soaring across vast open fields in search of their prey. A beautifully manned lion lay alone in a corner instead of stalking in high grass on an African plane.
I guess I’m confused as to why we still have zoos? It’s not like we can’t look them up on the internet and watch video’s in their real natural habitats or tune into National Geographic or Animal Planet to watch. The world is too open and available to necessitate the need for a zoo. What benefit is there to capturing animals and condemning them to a life of confinement? We can’t touch them; we rarely catch them doing anything other than sleeping or walking to a new spot to sleep.
I think it’s time for zoos to go the route of the drive-in theater and the scarecrow. We could use the money for research in protecting and helping the endangered species of the world.