Published on : Monday, May 30, 2016
Zoos are an interesting place for animal lovers and young observers to get a chance to see wild animals at close view and somewhat try to understand their habitat in confined surroundings from a safe distance. The first zoo was opened was the London Zoological Garden known as a menagerie or Zoological forest for the purpose of scientific study. Now Zoo’s are more bent on entertainment as people flock to them with their children on holidays and spend a whole day watching the wild animals living in their confined territory.
Recently some disturbing reviews and incidents concerning the killing of zoo animals are making people wonder whether the zoo is a safe place for animals. The safety of the animals is in the hand of the zoo authorities and with spectators who regularly visit the zoo. But how safe are the zoo inmates as their safety is often traded with human faults. If zoo animals cannot be ensured complete safety, why keep them in the shallow confinement? In 2016 alone a number of incidents have occurred where animals have been wrongly punished for human errors. Is it time to think differently and return animals to their natural habitats if visitors are unable to control their urges to get closer to the animals?
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden incident on May 28, 2016 is one case where the zoo authorities say they had no options but to kill the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla. A 4 yrs old boy’s entered in the well barricaded boundary of the gorilla enclosure. The boy faced danger from the hugely built animals that has been there in the zoo for the last one and a half years. Harambe, as the gorilla was popularly known was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, before he was moved to Cincinnati in September 2014.The animal belongs to a population of endangered animals according to the World Wildlife Foundation. In 2009, the International Species Information System counted 158 male western lowland gorillas and 183 females in captivity in the United States. Harambe had always been a popular inmate at the zoo and visitors of all ages had taken great joy in watching this animal.
Again, recently at the Santiago zoo Chile on May 21, 2016, two lions were short dead trying to save a man who got into the animal enclosure. The man was carried away by his own whims and decided to enter into a lion pen in what appeared to be a suicidal attempt. The zoo keepers did their best to salvage the situation which was however disturbing for the beasts. The zoo keepers turned a hose towards the animals, then fired tranquiliser dart, which was misfired as it hit the man instead of the animals. After all these predicaments when the lions finally set upon the man a zookeeper opened fire with live rounds. The two beloved animals died in front of a horrified and massive holiday crowd.
In the Palm Beach Zoo, on Apr 15, 2016, a woman who was “very knowledgeable about the tigers and loved them dearly”, died after a tiger injured her inside a tiger’s night house. The captive tiger was killed on the same day according to zoo authorities.
A toddler had been mauled by a lion cub after it was left to run loose in a Russian park in Vladimir, east of Moscow on Mar 7, 2016 Russia. A traveling “zoo” owner was showing off the lion cub in the park. Within seconds the young animal’s attention was diverted to a small child sitting nearby and the cub raced to the boy and began to maul his neck. His mother screamed in Russian “get him” as the helpless child cried out “mummy.” The handler quickly pulled the lion off the toddler and proceeds to beat it.
In the Papanack Park Zoo on Feb 28, 2016 Canada, a five year old male lion named Zeus escaped from its enclosure. The authorities were unable to contain the animal and the zoo owners were forced to shoot it. The authorities felt that the risk of sedating the lion was very high and could have caused danger to others who were visiting the zoo park.
There are many incidents that had occurred in 2015 and before that. These animals are at our mercy, how well are humans taking care of their safety is one question that arises. If the zoo authorities need to keep the wildest species it is important to keep them at a great distance from visitors and if that cannot be done then the policy of excluding these animals from the zoo may be a good thought.