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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:24 pm 
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Recently I was watching TV and I am a junkie for documentaries. I was flipping through and there was a program on and it caught my attention. It was titled " Blackfish" and came on CNN. This was basically the story of an Orca/ Killer whale named Tilikum and other animals at the parks like SeaWorld. I have to admit I have been to SeaWorld and I have seen this whale named Tilikum perform. I LOVED it! I would have ranked it up high on my list of my all time favorite things. I have also made plans to go to Orlando, FL during the week of July 4th. We had planned the main thing to be Disney World and would also spend a day at the other attractions that are close by. So I had planned on going to seaworld again and taking my kids. Now that I have seen this doc. I refuse to take my kids to anything like SeaWorld! It is nothing short of sickening and barbaric! These poor animals are screaming for help and no one is listening! It has driven them to the point of being so irritated that they kill, each other and their trainers! So since watching this and being completely distraught for the last two weeks I have been thinking about other things that look so innocent and things that are claimed to help animals. This leads me to the Zoo! I have taken my kids and we enjoyed it, seeing all of the animals and most of them being content, or so it seemed. I am now having a hard time wrapping my head around zoos now! I know that some are breeding endangered species but is that helping anything, other than lining the pockets of who ever sales these animals to others Zoos or "sanctuaries" In a way we are still harming theses animals. We might not be killing them off for their fur/skin/tusk or whatever ridiculous reason one could give, but we are now breeding them and creating life to be behind bars for human entertainment! The reason this is brought up and is a heated discussion in our home at the moment, is because our daughters birthday is in a couple of weeks and she wants to go to the Zoo. Last time I was there(last year) I told my self I wouldn't go back, even tho we had a good time, I couldn't stand seeing the cats pacing back and forth! That really got under my skin, and now that I have seen this it has made my wheels start turning and I cant help but to wonder what else goes on in places like this! What do you guys think? Am I being totally obnoxious about it,like my whole family says or do any of you share the same concerns? Are we raising the next generation of children to think it is a normal practice to throw an Exotic animal behind a cage for their enjoyment?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:47 am 
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Anybody with me here? Haha maybe my family is right and I am crazy :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:03 am 
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I dont think you are crazy, yes it is sometimes sad to see these animals in large cages but I have to remind myself that even though there are some who seem to be in it for line their pockets there are corporations out there who are actively trying to assist the survival of many animals - many of which would be extinct if it wasn't for zoos.

I try to only visit those who have good breeding programmes - I have a 'wildlife park' very close to us here and their conservation for their big cats is really good - their enclosures seem great - the cats are always lounging in the pools, climbing the massive platforms - to be honest if you can get a decent peek at a big cat it is a treat - they (as are a lot of places nowadays in the UK) are trying to make their enclosures as natural as possible - no beautiful cut grass - its overgrown (within control) so the big cats can feel more at home - if thats possible? Who really knows what goes on in the mind of a cat.

I have the wonderful pleasure of feeding the lion pride at a safari park in the UK - the lions were so awesome and so so wild - their eyes were so intimating they look straight through you, get they appear contented - well feed (there was no pushing of scrapping for the food). I've also given goats milk to tigers, the contented tiger noises - almost like a pplllffff (you have to hear it to know it) was amazing - again they seemed really content.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Ok firstly, I don't believe there are any pockets being lined from most zoos. At least around here, they are non-profit organizations, struggling to survive mainly from donations and public funding. I too am very sensitive about the treatment of animals in confinement. I have regrets about it, naturally. And some things I see there, does upset me. But zoos and aquariums do play a really important role imho, and that is of education.

I think it is really important for people to be able to go to places like that, and see the animals, and read all about them. Go watch the videos, listen to the keepers talk about the animals, and drink the koolaide. They have very strong programs where they teach us conservation and responsibility to our planet and the other inhabitants to our planet (i.e., animals) that I think is vital. They tell us about endangered species and why they are endangered. They teach us about habitat loss, and the consequences to animal life and habitat loss that humans make. And I think those are really really important lessons for kids to hear in particular. While they are still young and have open minds.

Also, I think it's important to have a community of people (the zoo staff and researchers) who are tasked with learning from and studying animals, and can then share and apply those findings to do some good.

My $0.02 is that we should look at zoos as necessary, but find better ways to treat the animals there. And I am a member of the local zoo, and donate to them, as well as a really fabulous aquarium on the coast about 100mi away which I visit a couple of times a year. If I had kids, I would definitely be taking them to lots of zoos and aquariums, so that they can learn and respect animals and our responsibility to them and to the planet.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Don't get me wrong I see the point of breeding programs for certain animals, but not others! I love doing anything that involves animals and we are members with the Tennessee Aquarium and go there at least once a month. We also sponsor a turtle named Oscar that was injured by a boat propeller in te gulf coast. He is now stable and lives at te aquarium. I get that, I love having my children involved and supporting nature be it by animals, planting trees, recycling and so on. I also TRULY believe that animals could be happy in a Zoo and certainly sanctuaries! From what I have seen with mainly big cats and elephants, they are deprived of space and can not act as if they would in the wild. You don't see a tiger pacing back and forth for hours on end, well I don't know that for sure but I see it as stress! You also don't see people walking around with wild elephants beating them with sticks to get them to do what they want! This show about orcas has really got to me! Maybe it's not in zoos but seaworld is a no go! If you could watch the show I am sure you will see what I am saying! I literally cried for a while, and I am not easily upset by things like that!

As a family we have decided to go to the Zoo, instead of just looking at the animals I want to be prepared to explain the situations to my children that lead to the animals being there! Hopefully this will ease my mind about Zoos but certainly not SeaWorld!! Are there seaworld parks or anything of that nature in the UK?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:11 am 
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Sea World and zoos are two very different things. I have seen part of the show you are talking about and it is heartbreaking. Many zoos focus on conservation and breeding and those are the ones I visit. I went to Brookfield just a few weeks ago and was really pleased to see the cats in particular - a snow leopard and her baby, a blacked footed cat and kitten (SO adorable), fishing cats with their huge water feature, attacking the fish, it was really awesome. They were all out playing with their meat stuffed pumpkins for Halloween. The weather was drizzly and cool so they were all active.

If you ever do a longer trip, the Indianapolis Zoo is very friendly, very focused on the population of the animals and the animals' stories. South of it is the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, an AMAZING place to visit. I have also heard the Louisville zoo is nice too, though I have never been.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:17 am 
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bkilgore wrote:
Are there seaworld parks or anything of that nature in the UK?


Not that I know of. We have some awesome aquariums here in the UK, my particular favourite is one in Plymouth. There is a chain of aquariums that are called Sea Life Centres - they are small places but do try to be educational - many school trips go there.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:38 pm 
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I do not like zoos as I hat to see large wild animals in cages.

I do not mind safari parks (there is a nice one called Longleat Safari Park here in the UK not far from me). The animals have lots of room to roam and they seem well cared for.

I truly hate circuses with animals in. I lived in Spain for 8 years and every year a circus would come to town. I refused to take my kids when they were smaller. I would have found it very upsetting.

Every year each town/village has their own week long festivity called a fiesta. A fairground and stalls come to the town and the Spanish love it. However, I was absolutely horrified as one of the children's rides was a merry go round but instead of fake horses for the kids to ride on, they were real ponies. Again, I found this absolutely heartbreaking.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:01 pm 
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http://www.bornfree.org.uk/fileadmin/us ... al_ark.pdf - interesting reading re the claims that zoos are "all about conservation".

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:44 pm 
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Agree with brianj12. Zoo's have an important part to play in educating people, especially the younger generation. I agree that the animals could perhaps be kept in better surroundings etc... BUT, it is down to public donations/concern too. Voicing an opinion is one thing, acting upon it is another.... as always seems to be the case nowadays.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:50 pm 
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junglerose wrote:
http://www.bornfree.org.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/files/zoo_check/animal_ark.pdf - interesting reading re the claims that zoos are "all about conservation".



I think that article is really misguided and naive, and more than a little mean-spirited. So the thesis that they are throwing out there is pretty much that every resource and every dollar spent not directly spent on an endangered animal is somehow a gross dereliction of their duty or their claim that they are interested in conservation. Hogwash.

So imagine a "born free" zoo run by those idiots with that thesis in mind, which is filled with nothing but endangered species. So it would be filled with all the homeliest toads and turtles and insects and rodents, and colorless, songless birds. Fields as far as the eyes can see of them. Armies of zookeepers tending to such animals, trying to breed them and multiply them. What would the actual impact of such a place be? To me, a zoo must strike a balance between capturing people's attention, giving them something that is enjoyable and interesting to see, and making them want to come back again and again, while at the same time acting as kind of propaganda for changing attitudes and behaviors. The actual conservation initiatives in terms of bringing in endangered species and breeding them is kind of a bonus . That sort of framework then gives you the opportunity to sprinkle in your conservation messages, without completely clubbing people over the head about it and making them never want to come back, much less be supportive of those initiatives. If a kid leaves a zoo with an attitude that "I really love animals, I respect them, I don't want to see them hurt, and I understand that humans can hurt them and be thoughtless and careless and be destructive to their habitat", what difference does it make whether they got that attitude by watching some really cool non-endangered animal from a different part of the world, or one that is endangered?

I think a lot more interesting study would be one that, for example, measured the effect of having a zoo in a certain region, with, say, the number of conservation measures appearing on ballots or the amount of dollars spent on conservation initiatives in a given population with and without a zoo. Something along those lines. That article is just rubbish imo.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:10 am 
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I think the issue that zoos face is on the one hand being an old fashioned menagerie merely housing animals for entertainment and two trying to balance that with some sort of relevance for modern populations.
The ethics of housing wild animals so that the public and in particular our children are educated and entertained are questionable in the modern world. So zoos have had to take on the "conservation" and "research" mantle in a bid to assuage those who are perhaps a bit offended by the sight of wild animals being cooped up in cages.

Now, it is possible to hold childrens parties in zoos as well as corporate events http://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne/plan-yo ... venue-hire .
Zoos are actually trying their best to accommodate a public that are maybe a bit jaded as regards zoos. Once they have visualised David Attenborough's real wild world or taken tours to see real game, then the zoo is often a sorry comparison.

Although I appreciate that there may be a role for zoos, the nitty gritty reality of zoos is perhaps not really something I can agree with.
One gripe that I have with zoos is the surplus zoo animal trade and the euthanising of healthy animals to make way for prettier or younger or more popular ones. So whilst my heart loves to see those cute cubs and pups and calves and fawns, my head tells me that the numbers bred world wide are huge that not all will find good homes. Some will not be in such happy circumstances and some may not even be still alive next year when the new bunch arrives. Even endangered animals are euthanised if they are genetically similar and therefore unneeded for conservation projects.
Another downside is the fact that many animals are still taken from the wild to provide "interesting" exhibits...

I hope that the technological world will do more as regards teaching the young about animals as sentient beings in the future, so that real wild animals do not have to spend their days in the zoo environment in such large numbers.

http://www.captiveanimals.org/wp-conten ... -Lives.pdf

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