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Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 1:10 PM

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the recent story about the Gorilla Harambe who was shot after dragging a boy around that had fallen into his enclosure. If not, here is the story:

http://www.vox.com/2016/5/31/11813640/harambe-gorilla-cincinnati-zoo-killed

This story seemed to explode on social media with a lot of comments criticizing the parents of the child who fell into the enclosure for being negligent, or criticizing the zoo for not adequately protecting visitors from falling into the enclosure.

For me though I guess the question is, why do we still have zoos? There have been a lot of studies that show that they are basically terrible for the animals. With the internet it's fairly easy to pull up a video of any animal in its natural habitat. Why take animals and lock them up in small enclosures in cities so people can watch them do nothing or worse elicit mental illness brought on by the stress of spending a lifetime locked in a tiny enclosure? Am I the only one who thinks Zoos should be done away with?

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#1

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 1:42 PM

I agree that the original purpose for a zoo is a mostly obsolete task today. The internet and many cinematic nature programs and movies do a much better job of preserving these animals in the wild for the public. However, what if an animal or plant's natural habitat is disappearing. One can certainly claim that nature should just "take its course" as it did with the passenger pigeon, dodo and many other species. But the knowledge on how to maintain and care for wild animals in a zoo allowed for the reintroduction of the condor and the black footed ferret.

I'm sorry for the loss of gorilla Harambe. Unlike the earlier child falling into a gorilla enclosure incident many years earlier it appears that Harambe was not docile.

I feel compelled to add one last bit of context. We should also remember that this is news. News captures people's attention when it is a rare, dramatic event. Lets not compound this tragedy by jumping to conclusions too quickly.

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#3
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:00 PM

I agree about the jumping to conclusions too quickly. Certainly this story was blown way out of proportion. Also I should add I 100% agree with the shooting of Harambe, I don't know enough to blame the parents, and don't know enough to blame the zoo.

But this sort of incident, itself pretty rare and unimportant, does make me question the continued existence of zoos in general. There does seem to be a lot of research out there that says zoos are pretty bad for the animals they house. At least higher functioning animals like primates or elephants, etc. As for preserving species, I think that could be better done by setting aside natural habitats to repopulate a species like they do with chimps and orangutans.

Doesn't it seem like in 100 years zoos wont exist anymore? It was one thing when we didn't know how miserable the animals were, but now that we know zoos just don't make sense to me anymore.

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#6
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:35 PM

I brought my daughter to the Buffalo Zoo when she was about 3, and I'll never be taking my kids to a zoo again. That one gets pretty high ratings as a zoo but it's completely urban, so that most of the enclosures are surrounded by busy streets. Most of the animals were exhibiting stereotypical behavior and looked genuinely unhappy. I think you're correct about wising up about zoos within the next century--I feel like the circus is on that route at present. They had their heyday, then people started realizing they're really not a good idea.

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#18
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 4:50 PM

Are you docile when 20-30 screaming mimies are yelling at you? The larger question is: "Why are there still parents (like these)?"

I am sure the safe place for all low land gorillas is the internet (what a freaking laugh). How is the internet supposed to protect a near extinct (1 nearer now, thanks to no paddling the little monster's butt) species from poachers, trophy seekers, thrill killers, stupid revolutions and even stupider genocides in Africa?

I agree that if you took the people out of the zoos, and sent them to an enclosed park where the animals could watch, point, and laugh at them, that would be much better, and safer for the animals.

The gorilla's behavior seems to indicate he did not understand why this human child was there, but Harambe (the low land silver back gorilla) may have been attempting to protect the child by dragging him away (quickly) from the excited "screams" in the "jungle". Male gorillas seem (in the wild at least) to have one mission - to lead and protect. They do not murder the other male's young, as male lions do.

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#2

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 1:52 PM

I'm conflicted.

Part of me looks at zoos as a means for preserving animals whose habitats are vanishing. The mountain gorilla -- the species killed at the zoo -- is one such species. Orangutans are another. I got interested in the plight of orangutans a year or so ago and learned about the worldwide breeding program participating zoos support. I guess the idea is that, if suitable habitat becomes available again, repopulation can take place, at least in part, with former zoo denizens. I'm just putting that thought out there; I have no idea how practical it its. And at least for orangutans, several organizations foster and repatriate wild orangs whose forests are lost to palm oil production.

Another part of me feels just like you do, Bayes, and I've felt guilty on the few occasions when I've visited a zoo. I've seen marvelously-constructed environments, created with input from "experts," that purport to keep their residents contented. Call me crazy, but I don't think Knoxville, Tennessee, will ever resemble an African jungle.

An aside: In my considered opinion, the mother who didn't keep an eye on that four-year-old ought to have to pay a fine to the zoo and be banned from bringing anyone under the age of 18 with her. A related thought: when designing kid-proof enclosures, the designers should let actual 4-year-old kids test them for permeability. Sorta like you'd write some code and let hackers have a go.

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#4
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:05 PM

I agree. I think they can mitigate the stress of the zoo environment, but there is something distinctly unnatural and disturbing about it for the animals.

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#5

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:24 PM

I was sad to read about Harambe. The zoo keepers had an awful decision to make, but they did make the correct one. I'm sure that killing the gorilla was the next to the last thing they wanted to do, the last being having the child harmed or killed. A lose/lose situation.

I think most zoos nowadays provide a much more comfortable habitat than the zoos of yesteryear that kept animals in cages. They do protect rare or endangered animals that would likely meet an untimely fate in the wild at the hands of predators, both 4 and 2 legged. And animals born in captivity don't know any difference, and if released into the wild, likely would have difficulty coping and surviving.

I, for one, enjoy going to see the animals in the flesh. Watching movies on the internet is just not the same, any more than watching a video of a fireworks display on the 4th of July.

I suppose that in a future time when most 4 legged animals have been driven to extinction, we'll still have internet movies or computer graphics or possibly robotic simulations.

I still want to see them alive.

(Just my 2 cents)

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#13
In reply to #5

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 3:05 PM

You have to remember that wild animals whether cage, contained, confined or on a preserve, no matter how docile they may appear, one thing remains. The are still wild.

And mix humans with they may not be on top of the food chain, but part of the food chain.

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#19
In reply to #13

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 4:52 PM

Gorillas are not known to be meat eaters, only humans.

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#20
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 5:32 PM

Mr. Syntax says, does that mean that humans are not meat?

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#28
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 11:43 AM

Yes, Humans are not meat, strictly, especially vegan ones. You are what you eat. If you eat beer, then you are hops.

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#27
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 10:58 AM

Gorillas are not known to be meat eaters, only humans.

Doesn't mean you can pet them..., the point being not having a high enough Intelligence Quotient when it comes to wild animals.

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#31
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 11:53 AM

"Doesn't mean you can pet them..., the point being not having a high enough Intelligence Quotient when it comes to wild animals."

Alternative: ..."having any intelligence quotient whatsoever when it comes to wild animals."

Remember that Johnny can't read, and doesn't listen to his mommy and dada, so you will have to make the barriers Johnny, Jill, and Jane proof in the future, and post pictograms depicting each wild animal with a child (or a portion thereof) hanging out of its mouth.

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#33
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 12:46 PM

nope, no such thing as idiot proof. They keep coming out with new and improved models

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#7

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:41 PM

Zoos still exist because there is a need for them.

We are already disconnected too much, as a society from reality.

People shoot each other with guns because that's how the cowboys did it.

Same with nature shows on TV. These do not begin to convey what animals really look like, how they act and interact with others and how they depend on nature.

Do we even see a hunter shoot a deer on TV? Do we ever follow a chase of predator and prey until the catch, and usually the slow death that follows? Granted, we won't see much killing in a zoo (Except in extreme cases) but the reality is pretty, well real.

I don't hunt any longer but when I did it was a solemn act to take big, or small, game. Then, I did it only if I was going to consume the meat.

The fence should have prevented the encroachment of any child, but it didn't.

The parents should have prevented the child from crawling through the fence, but they didn't.

I think the zoo acted appropriately.

I think zoos are very important as teaching tool for the millions of children who will never get to visit the wild homes of these animals.

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#16
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 4:05 PM

If I'm understanding you correctly, you present an interesting perspective, and one alluded to by Rixter: that we need to experience these animals in person. I used the term "experience" advisedly; we're not talking about staring for 2 minutes at a gorilla and moving on to the cotton-candy concession, but watching how he moves, how he interacts (or doesn't) with other gorillas, what he's eating, and so forth.

My first interaction with a zoo animal was more years ago than I care to remember, WAY before the move to more "realistic" exhibits. The smallish city where my grandparents lived had what would now be considered a small, pitiful zoo, enhanced with a little bitty train. One of the monkeys would "bathe" himself with half an onion. The highlight of any trip to the zoo was watching that monkey take a bath.

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#21
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 6:00 PM

Growing up on a farm gives me a different perspective.

There is no substitute for personal experience, even if it is just a city zoo.

Giraffes really like carrots.

Tigers are good swimmers.

These close encounters with animals will live with the children much longer than a nature program.

Realizing that everyone can't visit wild animal parks, zoos still allow us to view these animals with a more realistic perspective.

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#22
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 6:49 PM

Those are very good points. Bad zoos should be shut down. The good zoos do much to enlighten an ignorant public. As good as the Internet is at bringing information to your eyeballs and ears, the general public is very unlikely to search out information about Bengel tigers when the Kardashian's are out on the town. The audience here on this forum are NOT typical of the public at large.

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#47
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 3:46 PM

Personally, I've never had any bad experiences with animals (wild or tame).

Let's remember why zoos first came into existence ( several thousand years back )before making judgements about their need.

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#77
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 9:52 AM

The origin of 'zoos,' as in the keeping of rare and exotic animals in a garden or enclosure. were a show of political power/wealth of a monarch, in essence an extension of the 'treasure/tribute room.' As the People began to be fascinated with the science of the day, then the first actual zoological gardens were established.

More information is easily available, I won't even bother with a Wikipedia link, it's trivial to throw 'zoo' into Wikipedia's search box.

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#8

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:45 PM

I don't see any problem with zoos keeping animals in healthy habitats, it's great for animal study and provides people who would not have the time or resources to see these different species that share this planet....I think jails are much more cruel than zoos...and animals raised for food production endure much worse treatment....In an environment where the animals are protected from predators, of all kinds, is a much more peaceful existence than in the wild....A lot of the animals that end up in zoos are rescued from previous owners that failed to care for the animals properly...these animals, raised in captivity, can not be returned to the wild....and a zoo is the only option...

Lions and tigers and bears, at play....

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#10
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:50 PM

You raise an excellent point regarding animals raised for food. I'm an unapologetic meat eater but I must admit I'm horrified by some of the practices food companies have in place. Pretty hypocritical of me if I'm being honest.

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#48
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 4:49 PM

I think intelligent people tend to categorize everything...It's not surprising that one species of animal is hated and another loved based on mostly fictional stories or perceived injustices whose roots may or may not exist in reality....The truth is humans are predators, and we have no real intrinsic motivation to treat other animal species well...The advent of a highly organized society and creeping political correctness is experiencing an awkward interpretation to reality in the context of present practices governing animal treatment mores...anyone stating a position is likely to be attacked by a justifiable opposition....IE; somebody kills a dog in his backyard with a shovel = animal cruelty = jail time + fine.... Animal shelter gases 500 dogs to make more room = A ok...they are providing a needed service....What's the difference ? Humane methods...The bottom line here is as long as zoos are humane, they will probably continue to exist......the same goes for factory farms....Watching the slaughter of any animal is probably disturbing for most people, but eating it afterward is probably enjoyed by most...

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#50
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 4:58 PM

Yes, but if that neighbor's lawn "boy" throws poisoned food over my fence again when my dogs are barking at him, it will come back, followed by molten lead.

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#78
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 10:14 AM

James, I don't want to criticize your housekeeping, but if the bullets are leaving your gun in an actual molten state, you REALLY should think about stripping and cleaning it. That's WAY too much friction-heat, and the added friction is also robbing you of range and possibly accuracy.

Unless you meant you were going to empty the smelting pot over the fence, in which case my advice is "remember to wear gloves, and be careful of back-splatter getting in your eyes or mouth."

(Pardon me for not having a proper Cristian attitude towards the lawn "boy," but those who are needlessly cruel to animals rank about the same as child molesters in my book; I have more respect for dog poop than I do for child molesters and animal tormentors. the ONLY category below them is 'career politician.') (Yes, that does mean that on the love-hate scale I 'love' Satan more than I do child molesters, but it's still all on the 'dislike' side of the zero point, FAR on the 'dislike' side. I respect that Satan has a purpose and a reason for existing, doesn't mean I give a fiddle about whether he's happy or miserable.)

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#72
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 12:12 AM
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#81
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 11:17 AM

Why do zoos still exist? Simple answer, because man still exists.

400 dead tiger cubs. US ban on Ivory, the evidence for the support of preserving animals in this fashion is almost daily.

Even wild animal preserves don't really have a chance at protecting the vanishing species of which the gorilla is one. I think most would remember the "lion hunter" from Minnesota who lured a protected animal out of the Conservation park and shot it for a trophy.

I can relate to the extinction of the Florida Panther. A unique version of the North American cougar. They will claim its comeback but it was extinct 30 years ago and what exists today is a genetically created hybrid with the Texas cougar. The last known male Florida panther was stuck by a car in the everglades back in the 80's. Sad because Busch Gardens had applied to the Florida GFC to take them in and try to rebuild the species but had been denied.

No solution is perfect, but the other option is the loss of these animals completely.

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#49
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 4:52 PM

Lions and tigers and bears - oh my! Thanks Dorothy, but this isn't Kansas.

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#52
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 9:40 AM

Most of the animals in the zoo in Kansas take a lot of time gawking at the Hell's Angels walking (or riding) past, they are animals of a different color altogether.

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#79
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 10:20 AM

And neither was that photo, most likely.

That was from a shelter for wild animals raised from cubhood as pets. They don't know how to survive in the wild, they don't know how to properly socialize with their own kind in captivity, they don't know how fragile humans are, so they don't know how to socialize safely with people.

Those three were probably raised together, which is why they are allowed to be together now, all they have is each other, despite all their differences.

(I feel like I need to put up a movie poster for The Breakfast Club here.)

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#9

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:50 PM

Good comments but I'll throw a very small rock at the statement that the internet and nature programs are just as good as a zoo. A few years ago I was at a zoo somewhere (probably Toledo Ohio). While in the polar bear exhibit the bear came up and sat down against the glass right in front of me. I have seen many nature shows and heard many times about how the polar bear was big. None of these shows came close to making me understand what it is like having one of them about 2-3" away from me. They are beautiful animals and they are HUGE. I don't mean big, I mean HUGE.

I also remember as a child the Toledo Zoo had a huge turtle (tortoise?) in the children's area of the zoo. If you were under a specified weight and in the right place at the right time the zoo keeper would let you ride it.

I remember the lama at the St. Louis taking the handkerchief out of my mother's jacket pocket and trying to take the candy out of my jacket pocket.

I remember hundreds of ducks swarming me and pecking the corn out of my pockets because I wasn't handing it out fast enough to keep them happy. Several ducks would even try to untie my shoes. I don't quite understand how that was suppose to help but I just wrote it off as them being bird brains.

The TV and internet do a very good job but it is not quite the same as hoping the glass doesn't break, cleaning the lama snot out of your pocket or watching a bird untie your shoes.

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#17
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 4:26 PM

Can't resist adding this wonderful video, showing an orangutan reacting to a magic trick. Can you imagine being on the human side of the glass and communicating with the orang?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-5DA9HtyyQ

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#23
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 11:25 PM

Haha good one...

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#29
In reply to #9

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 11:46 AM

Back on the farm, we had white geese, I forget their standard breed name. Anyway, the ganders were bad about wanting to herd me back into the house when as a tyke, I ventured too far from the door, or out the fenced in yard. They can pinch really hard!

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#30
In reply to #9

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 11:47 AM

"While in the polar bear exhibit the bear came up and sat down against the glass right in front of me."

That is an important experience, especially for people who live solely in an urban environment. Not only do well-run(1) zoos provide the viewing public with living examples of what the animals look like, but they provide for that opportunity for a connection. When you end up making direct eye contact with a wild animal, it can awaken something inside you, that flash of insight where information turns into Knowledge and Wisdom, "We are all in this together." "We are all God's children, no matter how many feet we have." "We are all part of the Web of Life that has evolved on this Blue Marble." However you describe it, there is that sense of kinship, the feeling that our fates are tied with theirs, and theirs with ours. That's an insight that is easy to find among those who live and work with wild animals, or even the domesticated animals kept for livestock. The animals we adopt as pets(2) don't give us that, they have little of the Wild left in them, after all the selective breeding(3) done to make them safe to have around our own babies.

To wrap things up (and being this meander back onto topic) zoos still exist for the following important purposes:

  • To provide a 'safe haven' for endangered species to live and breed, so that their children may be returned to their native lands to bolster the 'freeborn' population.
  • To provide a 'sheltered home' for those animals found to be too injured to ever survive again out in 'the wild,' (Almost all(4) bald eagles in American zoo aviaries are in this category, which is why this reason is very close to my heart.), and to provide a place for those wild animals raised as 'exotic pets' by the 'irresponsible rich,' who then grow tired or fearful of their expensive 'living toy.'(5)
  • To educate the public about the huge variety of live we share this planet with, and to teach how the responsible portion of society is working to protect this vast diversity.
  • To provide the opportunity for that chance connection, so that members of the viewing public may walk away with a deeper, more personal understanding of the true interconnectedness of life on this planet.

(Typed with hands covered in mosquito bites from a recent weekend spent In The Woods, reconnecting with Nature.)

Notes:

  1. The poorly-run zoos need to either be improved or shut down, they are giving ALL zoos and circuses(6) a bad name.
  2. And we do treat pets differently than we do 'wild' animals, even the terms show the special status. We don't "buy" or "keep" a puppy or a kitten, we "adopt" them, and treat them like a fuzzy member of the family.
  3. And with all the selective (in-)breeding, we've got 'purebred' dog lines that come with built-in health problems: dalmatians could be born deaf (and deaf dalmatian pups are terrified of everything that could sneak up behind them) and Huskies that are prone to Grand Mal seizures.
  4. I have never seen a bald eagle at an American zoo that did not have a plaque by its enclosure giving its history and the reason why it cannot be returned to the wild, but I will not rule out the possibility of a poorly-run zoo having a 'poached' eagle.
  5. I do not consider Sigfried & Roy to be in this category. They kept endangered white tigers, and they did 'imprint' themselves on the cubs so they would be accepted as part of the pack, but they treated the animals well, and were aiding in conservation efforts. Even the on-stage 'attack' was just an accident based on miscommunication and misunderstandings.
    1. The tiger was startled by the flash photography from the audience (a violation of the "No flash photography" rule).
    2. Sigfried moves in to calm the tiger down and shield her from the disorienting flashes.
    3. Sigfried trips and falls to the stage.
    4. The tiger, Seeing that Sigfried has fallen and looks hurt, does what any mother cat would do: she gently picks him up by the scruff of the neck and carries him to safety. There are only two problems to her plan:
      1. Human necks do not HAVE a scruff.
      2. Humans are much more fragile than tigers.
    5. The audience and Event security mistake the 'gentle carry' for a 'bite and drag' and hysterics ensue.
  6. Interesting story about zoo and circus elephants. They cannot be kept in the same enclosure as each other: Zoo elephants, especially zoo elephants born in captivity, never learn the behaviors that are useful in the Savanna, behaviors such as 'mounting another elephant to get a better view of things off in the far distance.' Circus elephants learn these behaviors, and are even encouraged to to them, so a circus elephant learns the difference between 'mounting for a view'/'mounting for a performance' and 'mounting to breed.' Zoo elephants never learn that, and therefore get very stressed out by the 'antics' of the circus elephants.
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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 11:57 AM

The way I was taught it reads: "...and God gave them dominion over the creatures of the earth." Dominion does not mean domination, hurtful aggression, or negligence. It means "responsibility for"... To me it means that each of the sentient beings is responsible to, accountable to the Higher Power (God) for how we treat ALL other creatures, not just other humans. "I wouldn't treat a dog the way he treated her" is one example, and if someone treats "her" that way, he probably treats dogs even worse.

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:12 PM

You are one of the few who understand what Dominion means.

For others, I have to resort to sayings like "We don't inherit the land from our forefathers, we borrow it from our grandchildren."

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#40
In reply to #34

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:34 PM

I imagine any true American Indian could explain it to you.

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:46 PM

a true American Indian,... good luck, maybe in the Southwest or Alaska.

In the upper Midwest here, a true American Indian makes their living in the Indian casinos. That's not very true.

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#44
In reply to #40

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 2:34 PM

Well, I DID borrow that phrase from the 'general mashup' of the First Nations sayings that Americans get exposed to.

Don't worry, I'll return it, I am no thief, nor am I an 'indian giver.' A also fully credit my source, if the listener cannot tell from the style, and cadence of the saying.

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#46
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 3:36 PM

For all I know you could be Illiniwek, Miami, or even Shawnee, Wea, or Winnebago.

The term "Indian Giver" is grossly misunderstood, as it refers to the Indian custom of always giving an equal gift to the person who bestows a gift on them.

The negative connotation was a misconception of the custom.

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#76
In reply to #46

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 9:41 AM

Actually, by percentages, 50% Polish, 25% German, 12.5% Swedish, 12.5% British.

For all my childhood, I thought I was half-Polish, half-German, 3rd generation American from both sides. (all my great-grandparents were fresh immigrants). It was only in my late 20's, after she was gone, that i learned that my paternal grandmother wasn't German, but Swedish, then in my 40's I finally learned her maiden name, and realized that her mother was Swedish, but her father was British.

And through all that, I still identify most with my German heritage. That might also be why I work to not show any racial stereotyping in my words and actions; we all know what a racist German is called.

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#82
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 12:51 PM

Despite your heritage revelations you are still you.

According to many anthropologists, we're all African in origin.

When asked "What race are you?" My preferred obnoxious answer is " I am Human. Are you an Android, Human or other lower race of animal?"

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#85
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 2:13 PM

"I sir, take offense at your use of the phrase 'lower race of animal.' Evolution is not a heierarchy, with some species placed 'above' or 'below' others. It is an ever-expanding family tree. Every single species on this planet EVERY one, comes from a long unbroken line of noble survivors going back millions of years. The fact that some have changed into more complex forms, while others have remained relatively simple, does not place one species on a pedestal and another on a dungheap(1), it merely proves that there are so many varied niches for life to fill on this Spinning Blue Marble, and all those niches do not stay vacant for long, should a species die out; every niche has its resources, and if there was one species capitalizing on a resource, there are likely others that are able to use it as well, but had been 'crowded out' from it by the 'dominant species' in that niche.

"We are all here on this planet together, all struggling for the same thing; a chance to see tomorrow, or, if not to see it personally, to insure that our offspring will see tomorrow. Let us not forget who inspired our current Pope to choose his name: Saint Francis of Assisi, who considered all of God's creatures his brothers and sisters. You would not call your own sister a 'lower form of being,' now would you?"

(Yes, I do tend to drift in and out of the 'mad scientist with a beak' character I use as a forum avatar here.)

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#87
In reply to #85

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 2:24 PM

I tend to think in terms of ascendency, but with a different meaning of the word. We have reached a higher level of analytic ability than other creatures (that we can tell). We make better tools, toys, and better food. At least I don't like hair around the steak.

Better shelter? Maybe. We are not the best athletes. My dog is proof of that.

Even birds have (primitive) emotions, and act somewhat childlike at times.

The highest mark of ascendency we know - that a man would lay down his life for his brothers, that they might live. Thus ascendency = love.

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#89
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 2:36 PM

"The highest mark of ascendency we know - that a man would lay down his life for his brothers, that they might live. Thus ascendency = love."

The last act that many species of mother squid do, after tending to their clutch of eggs, using her own siphon to keep the water flowing around them and keeping them aerated, is to die, right as the first eggs are hatching, so that her body may provide food for the hatchlings as they start their lives.

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#90
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 2:42 PM

Yes. Just because they don't have a written language, doesn't mean they don't own some ink.

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#100
In reply to #89

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/06/2016 6:47 AM

"The last act that many species of mother squid do,..., is to die, ...so that her body may provide food ..."
Is the mother's squid's act voluntary or instinctual?

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#102
In reply to #100

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/06/2016 9:26 AM

Is a human mother's act of throwing her body over her child's to protect it from incoming danger voluntary or reflex?

We can ask the mother (if she survives being a 'living shield'), but we haven't quite gotten to the point where we can interview squids yet.

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#103
In reply to #102

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/06/2016 11:17 AM

Well considering that there are many human mothers who do not take such action, we should be able to conclude that there is some level of choice involved for humans.

The fact (is it a fact? I don't know, since you stated it as a fact and implied, or at least I inferred, that all mother squids behave this way) that all mother squids behave this way, it's more believable that it's instinct rather than squid society has reached a level of enlightenment that willingly give themselves out of love as food to their new squidlings.

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#104
In reply to #89

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/06/2016 3:23 PM

Funny but this site says that is not true.

"She will distribute them in hidden areas of the water including under rocks or in various holes and crevices she can find. It can be up to eight weeks before those eggs hatch so keeping them save from predators can be difficult. The female squid don't wait around for them to hatch, they leave after depositing them."

(My underline.) The female squid does not die to feed the young. The time period between fertilized egg depositing and hatching is too long. For a more "academic" source the squid species known as the Humboldt squid also leaves the eggs.

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#105
In reply to #104

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/06/2016 3:26 PM

Well heck, you spoiled the romance on that one, now didn't you?

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#94
In reply to #85

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 10:36 PM

Wow. I have never expected somebody to fall so deeply for a simple paradox posed to make a point. Racism and nationalism is just raising one group of humans over another. What do you think was my point?

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#95
In reply to #94

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/04/2016 11:24 AM

To a degree there is a diversity among humans and that's not a bad thing either

The problem is over ANALysing it or taking it way too seriously on the subject,

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#101
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/06/2016 9:22 AM

My entire post was in quotes, which, along with the parenthetical note at the bottom,should have clued you in to the fact that I was responding, not as myself, but as another person. In this case, the avian mad scientist of my forum avatar. That post was intended to be comedic. I can see now, that some may have taken my jest as serious commentary.

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:29 PM

I think dominion = ascendancy....

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#39
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:33 PM

That video about the alligator walking raised up on his legs is indeed primordial in appearance, dangerous, foreboding, and a good indication to take off running the other way, zigzagging (gators do not turn all that sharply).

but if there were mermen (not saying there are, and the show about them on Animal Planet was sheer hokum) would they (being under water) have descendancy?

If a dominant human survived Chernobyl would he have incandascendancy?

Playing with words fun, if I didn't have words, I would be speechless, and nothing left to play with.

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#106
In reply to #37

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

01/09/2017 9:18 PM

Re: 'dominion' in Canada we have a Queen who has "dominion (over us)"It means to have BOTH rights or powers (ascendency) AND responsibility (to protect/defend).

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#54
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 10:05 AM

My family has a "priceless" moment from our trip to the Buffalo Zoo in the early 1990's, when our kids were still young. All the fenced in smaller mammals would come running to see us when we approached. It wasn't until feeding time we understood why - my clothing choice of the day, right out of LL Bean, was all khaki colored - cargo shorts and short sleeve shirt - EXACTLY like the outfit worn by the zoo personnel who fed them.

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#55
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 10:49 AM

The creatures are not stupid. They know a good thing when they see it.

We have been feeding the doves at our place in our back yard, and I think we have created a monster. The white-winged doves and the collared doves all want to "wing-brush" each other off the aluminum biscuit pan containing the dog pellets. Sometimes we have only two show up, yesterday was a "frenzy"! The two "regulars" are "fat boy" and "Birdirty". Most of the others are unnamed. Yesterday evening, this feeding frenzy resulted in the consumption of about a large tomato can worth of dog food by just doves, well, and a couple of pellets went to a hungry blue jay.

We have wild opossum that hangs around at times, and two (or more) foxes live over across the street in the backyard of an unoccupied home. That is the extent of the wild life in Lubbock I have seen. No mountain lions thus far, no coyotes, and no Lobo wolf. I have seen mule deer crossing U.S. Highway 87 about 5 miles south of Tahoka, TX (south of Lubbock), and also a Lobo in that same general area. Many years ago, my mom saw her dogs chasing a mountain lion on the farm my parents had near the state line west of Seminole, TX. One fellow who used to be the maintenance foreman here at work claimed he saw a moose once in the canyons out by Roaring Springs to the east of Lubbock. Not sure I believe that one.

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#56
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 11:00 AM

I created a "monster" with the racoon family in the woods out back. I started putting old dry cat food and day old cat treats out for them to eat just off our back deck. We tend to leave the back door open a bit to let the cats come and go in the early evening hours. (flies/bugs/hot temps are not a problem in this area, especially the hot temperatures - no AC here like you need) Well the coons soon noticed that, and we had one brazen enough to run into the house and take off with a nearly full bag of cat food. Never did get that back.

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#57
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 11:32 AM

Those little (quote little) fellows are extremely resourceful, and like good stuff, especially grapes.

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#58
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 11:42 AM

I had one "tamed" enough 4 years ago to sit upright on his hind feet and beg for peanuts. Big mistake as it led to the previous reported incident. I should have known better.

My college room mate, who is now a successful veterinarian in Massachusetts, came to visit me in the later 1970's, after 5 years out of school, and brought his "tame" pet racoon. Tame was a loose description. He sure was a devil in a house. Ripped up the sofa. Unrolled the toilet paper. When my buddy tried to correct him, the coon sat and hissed at him and continued on doing what he was doing.

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#59
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 11:48 AM

That one not tame, and a lot spoiled. If attempting to make a pet of such creatures, so-called "normal" pet discipline does not apply. I would hate the see the mom of the house after she swatted a bad racoon for getting into the refrigerator and stealing the ham (like inky the wire-haired terrier did), or for unrolling the t.p.

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#61
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 12:18 PM

Raccoons are resourceful. In are cornfield, we would plant 1 row of sweet corn for our selves, and the coons know this.

On the farm lately, they would check to see if the feed room door is fully shut, they even if its a small opening, they'd move there dexterous and nimble fingers (Paws) and open the door.

They are very industrious and at times entertaining, but they are vermin.

By the way,... is your raccoon tame like this?

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#64
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 12:24 PM

Could not the dumb bastage see that this racoon was crouching and had his ears back (sign of aggressive attitude)? I am not sure that was not photo-shop result due to the bite sound effect....although I am sure a coon bite would actually hurt like hell, bad puncture type wound, or digit snipped off if back teeth.

Leave the wild animals (and cranky maintenance foremen) alone! They do bite!

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 12:29 PM

I said before,.... you can not make anything idiot proof because they keep coming out with more efficient models.

Where we grew up it was very touristy. There was a petting zoo called Aqualand, where you'd feed the deer, fish, goats, ducks and raccoons, The raccoons would eat out of you hand. I could not get over with the dexterity of their fingers. Oh ya, ... they also had a bear there that you could give a soda pop to.

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#80
In reply to #64

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 10:52 AM

Another reason to have zoos: so people with little animal experience can possibly learn the 'broad strokes' of 'animal body language.' I come across dog owners who don't even know what it means when their dog has its hackles up, or even recognize raised hackles when they see it(1). I pay attention to my dog's body language and the body language of dogs we meet while on walks, and permit/refuse contact accordingly, and when the other dog walker seems oblivious to their dog's hackles, I try to inform them indirectly by talking to my own dog, explaining to her why I want her to stay back.

Notes:

  1. Yes, it can be tricky to spot at first, since different breeds hackle differently. I never became aware of where to look until I saw my uncle's dog hackle up, this was a short-haired breed, and when he hackled, he sprouted a punker mohawk down his spine, from shoulders down to the base of his tail. After that lesson of "Oh, THAT'S where the hackles are," I was able to spot it on other dogs, most weren't that blatant, some just get a 'rough patch' of fur between their shoulderblades, and our Siberian Husky gets a small 'quasimodo hump' behind her neck when she's upset(2), but the key thing to look for, as I tell other dog owners by telling my dog, is simply whether the 'base of the neck' fur looks 'sleek' or 'disturbed.'
  2. And when she hackles at a dog on the other side of the street, or begins to hackle when I'm holding her back from crossing the road (because she hasn't sat down yet and allowed me to shift my focus from "where is Zelda" to "is it safe to cross the intersection"), I reach down with my free hand and grab her hackle gently as if it were a neck scruff. that usually gets her sitting down really fast, as well as her shooting me a look that, if I got that from a human woman, would have me quickly pulling my glasses off so they don't go flying when she slaps me.
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#66
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 1:06 PM

Really? I'm not that stupid. I toss the food to them. Just watch how they eat some time and you know what is coming if you feed from your hand.

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#60
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 11:50 AM

We have Finch feeders, both socks and a tube with small perches and holes to pick the seed up.

These dove are too big to land on the perches, but they can balance themselves by flapping their wings while they eat.

Drives me crazy, because the Finches can't eat while they're there.

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#62
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 12:20 PM

Yeap. I made this thing about big enough for two dove at once. It is a better show than most of what is on TV.

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#67
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 5:26 PM

These guys keep us entertained. The view is through our front window. We've seen as many as 6 Peach Face Love Birds at one time. They don't like the doves.

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#69
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 5:39 PM

The beaks on those look like its a tropical bird

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#70
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 5:49 PM

Yes but, they thrive in Arizona. Especially in urban areas.

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#83
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 1:21 PM

My wife would never go inside if we had those in our back yard. Are yours even remotely tame? Can you tempt them to light on your shoulder?

Yesterday, when I put out the food, there were 6 dove on the one biscuit pan within 30 seconds. Those were the trained ones, the young ones just out of the nest are the fun ones, as we sit and cajole them, coax them to fly down from roof line and eat.

We have names for some of them: Birdirty (rough looking feather on wings, collared dove), Nacho (notched wing with missing feather, collared), FatBoy (white-wing really fat one), Missy (a female collared dove, often hanging around with Birdirty), Al Bino (an albino looking collared dove), but the kiddos don't have names as yet. Nacho better straighten up (he stakes out the dinner plate by perching on the power lines in the alley, then swoops in as soon as someone lands to eat), or he will make our dinner table.

I have never had a dove taco, but it could happen.

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#86
In reply to #83

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 2:18 PM

"Nacho better straighten up (he stakes out the dinner plate by perching on the power lines in the alley, then swoops in as soon as someone lands to eat), or he will make our dinner table."

Sounds like Nacho's a bit of a showoff and a risk taker. If the others don't like his showy entrance they'll let him know, and if he's a frequent power-line percher, he's figured out how to do it without getting himself roasted by the amps.

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#88
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 2:26 PM

Seems they all have mastered that out here in this country.

One of these days, he is going to come zooming in, and catch "the wing". It's sort of like "talk to the hand."

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#91
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 2:44 PM

Birds don't normally risk their wing-bones in chastising members of the flock(1), more likely, Natch will make his flashy landing one too many times, then the others will 'dogpile' him and 'power-preen' him until he's a plucked as a supermarket chicken.

Notes:

  1. Swans are a notable exception, but swans are the Hell's Angels of the bird world. They are mean, rude, and overly violent to every slight or insult. Plus, they can break a man's shinbone with a strike from the leading edge of their wing. I mean it, swans may look pretty, but they are dangerous a--holes, and possibly Cygnus Supremacists to boot; they sure ACT like they think they're the Master Race.
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#92
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 3:08 PM

ROFLMAO! Good one. I will leave the swans where they be then.

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#93
In reply to #83

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/03/2016 6:37 PM

Not tame.

Walk out the door and 40-50 birds take flight at one time.

Makes quite a lot of noise.

They start coming back as soon as you go back inside.

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#96
In reply to #83

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/04/2016 4:29 PM

Just got back from golfing and this guy came for a visit.

He's a first time visitor, today, but we've already seen him 3 times.

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#97
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/04/2016 7:12 PM

Looks like a sharp shinned hawk. Looks also like nobody else is getting a bath until somebody eats.

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#98
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/04/2016 7:27 PM

It's a kestrel. A falcon.

His little brother/sister came down to the bird bath but didn't stay.

This one has been here since noon.

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#63
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 12:21 PM

We live on the Wisconsin peninsula. The DNR restricted the fisherman to stop dumping their chum in the water, so the Seagulls flew inland. When cherries, become ripe on the trees, these seagulls would fly in the trees, wings fully spread on the braches,... draped more like it, and eat the cherries.

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#68
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 5:31 PM

That is funny. I'll have to remember to check out the 'uniform' of the staff before we go.

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#11

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:57 PM

I don't know about other zoo's as I haven't been to any other than Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens in Tampa in many decades, but I see them (zoos....hmmmm the plural of zoo looks funny....is that spelling incorrect?) as an educational experience for children and adults.

Yes, we can all go online and look at animals in their natural habitat. But a 3 or 4 year olds will learn something different by the experience of falling in a gorilla pit seeing the different animals up close and live than from only on TV.

Lowry Park and Busch Gardens offer (as I'm sure other do too) several programs beyond just charging admission to the general public to view the animals. They have summer camps for kids from K-8th grades and teen summer programs, too. These programs include hands on experience caring for the animals and classroom activities.

What a great way to inspire young kids to care about something other than their pods or androids. If young kids are never exposed to nature, how can we expect them to give a damn about it when they are old enough to make decisions which may dramatically impact it? I got my love of nature from spending much of my childhood running around in the woods behind my house after school. But fewer and fewer kids have that opportunity today.

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#12

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 2:59 PM

We went to the Milwaukee Zoo, its ok, I enjoyed the spider monkeys.... But I like the smaller zoo's.

Such as NEW Zoo, (NorthEast Wisconsin Zoo)

http://newzoo.org/

Or better still, a wildlife sanctuary.

http://www.baybeachwildlife.com/

Both are in/near Green Bay, Wi.

It small, less crowded, and when a new exhibit opens, such as a new lion or giraffe, Its a big deal. There's also a smaller one just outside of Madison, Wisconsin.

Its very one on one. But the thing that gets passed by, is when you take your kids to the Zoo, its for the kids. And that gets lost.

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#14

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 3:45 PM

Compared to some of the parents I see in public I give Harambe a solid C+ on his child handling skills.

Good Lord knows I have seen kids in public places that took all of 30 seconds for me to reach the point I felt like Gorilla slapping the snot out of them and whatever adult was supposed to be in charge.

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#15

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 3:55 PM

Since no one has mentioned it yet I will. This is not the first time something like this has happened but to my knowledge this is the first time that the animal was killed instead of drugged or distracted to rescue the child. I cannot help think a little that this would not have happened in a less......litigious country.

A sad end, but sometimes these things do happen.

Now, I think there is still a place for zoos even if only to help promote wildlife up close for people to see with their own eyes and truly appreciate our worlds wonderful biodiversity.

However some zoos are so appalling in their treatment that they should be shut down. I have been told horror stories of one of the zoos in the Indonesia area for example where the poor animals are stuck in small concrete floor enclosures out in the sun with no shade and are very distressed, and others where the animals are so inbreed they can barely function.

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#24
In reply to #15

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

05/31/2016 11:59 PM

I agree. I think the threat of a big bucks tort lawsuit and the end of several administrators careers in zoo management was the major factor in the decision to execute the gorilla (plus the fact that he and his relatives were the only beings involved that couldn't file suit). If it had been a cop who shot a thug who had just assaulted a kid the streets would be full of rioters and Justice Department investigators.

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#51
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 12:26 AM

I don't think they were that worried about a lawsuit, that gorilla probably cost a fortune...No I would think they were, in addition to seeing a child harmed, worried about the press coverage that would probably have shut down the zoo had the gorilla torn the kid limb from limb in front of all those cell phones....That's something that would linger in the public memory for an eternity....Probably would have ended up shutting down more than one zoo and dealt a tremendous blow to the zoo industry as a whole.....

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#53
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/02/2016 9:47 AM

Maybe, and maybe the gorilla would not have harmed the boy (more than dragging him around a bit. The posturing appeared to me to have been more of a protective stance in front of the child, and every time he moved the child, was it not in response to a loud set of screams coming from hysterical onlookers?

People are indeed their own worst enemies, and apparently are the enemies of all nature, and of what is natural instinct to the point they no longer understand.

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#25

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 12:14 AM

I grew up in a fairly remote area , in the Pacific..We had very limited engagement with animals from other Continents , etc. It was through those those contacts, with being able to SEE, and sense , what those animals were like, that I developed a very strong bond and appreciation with the animal kingdom. Without the one-on-one experience with these animals, in a well kept zoo, millions of kids, like myself , would never have had the one on one experience that we had, and would have been relegated to a printed picture and page in an Encyclopedia. No sounds, no smells , no physical contact. I later became a friend of a Scientist / Zoologist who worked with zoos, and large Aquariums, and found out how much research was being done with the different species, and how Vets were able to go into the wild and innoculate various animals with serums that allowed those animals and their herds to avoid a death sentence. They were able to track the diseases that had decimated thousand of animals in herds, and develop ways to retain these herds. This research could have not been done in the wild. A few animals, in zoos, providing millions of people the ability to "go on safari" , have done more to advance wild Animal husbandry than all of the expeditions combined. I guess that ONLY THE VERY RICH, with their luxury tents, in Rawanda, with cocktails, epicurian dining, and Range Rover experiences, can witness the savagery of the wild, from a very protected vantage point. Keep the zoos, as many children will gain an intimate feeling for these amazing animals and, as they do, will bond with them, will do more to protect them as they understand them. Most of these animals will suffer a fate much worse than that in a zoo. Sorry for the rant….and thanks for the ear..

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#26

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 8:55 AM

Zoos exist so we get to see fun stuff like this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rQwqMkEi2w

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#35

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:19 PM

Yeah...the problem with the internet is it is basically a virtual reality, not reality. If it was reality we wouldn't need zoos. However, the experience of actually seeing how large and impressive a living being an elephant is, a hippopotamus is, a gorilla is, and so on, is NOT conveyed on a screen. The gator that took a stroll on the Florida golf course yesterday and was videoed did not look that impressive on my screen. I've seen live 10 footers before, and stood in awe of this massive beast. The golf course gator was a 15 footer, and I missed the feeling of awe and respect that I get when I experience an animal that magnificent. How massive was it in reality, not virtual reality?

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:22 PM

I was impressed by the Florida gator on how much he lifted his body off the ground as he walked.

It actually resembled some type prehistoric display

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#38
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:31 PM

It basically WAS a prehistoric display. When we as a species are finally gone, Mr. Gator and Mr. Crock will still be here chuckling, as they probably were when the first homo-sapiens appeared on Earth.

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#41
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Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:41 PM

and roaches after they pass.

But the height was still impressive on the tube. I'm sure a chill would go down if seen in person.

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#43

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 1:50 PM

With ever shrinking environment available for some of these animals. Zoos maybe the only place that we can secure the continuation of these species. The Ebola virus that killed many humans in west Africa could have devastated the mountain gorilla if it had infected their populations.

With the zoos spread out as they are. It is unlikely that a contagion could infect all of them.

Harambe was captive born. He did not know what it was like to run wild.

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#45

Re: Why Do Zoos Still Exist?

06/01/2016 3:33 PM
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