Thursday, March 22, 2012

Life is a zoo...in more ways than one!


Like Shawntelle and her family, we’re having spring break now, too, and although my own kids are grown, I’m not getting off scot-free. Don’t ya know…Grandma’s is a lot more fun than daycare and since Grandma is retired and obviously not doing anything, let’s go there instead. At least that’s it from the perspective of three little boys—a couple of ten-year olds and an eight-year old. Needless to say, I’ve had “company” practically every day this week. (As I write this, they’re down in the family room arguing. If I hear blows being struck, I’ll have to go break up the fight!)

All joking aside, I really don’t mind having them at my house. They may eat constantly, argue a bit now and again, but most of the time they’re pretty well behaved. They do try and avoid, as what one of the ten-year olds calls it, “The Wrath of Grandma.” And for my part, I do try and think up fun things for them to do…like yesterday…taking a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. My oldest daughter and I (not stupid…no way was I taking those three boys by myself!) packed them up, loaded up the backpacks, and headed for the zoo. We had a great time.

But…I’ve got to admit I really have mixed feelings concerning zoos. Even though the animals are well cared for and, I’m sure, treated in a humane manner, I do find zoos a little sad. This particular zoo has done a lot to make each animal’s habitat similar to what they would experience in the wild, but there’s just something about seeing an animal that’s meant to roam free, confined. On the other hand, I think zoos play an important role in educating children about wild life and endangered species. If a kid has seen a Bengal tiger up close and personal, then hears that the habitat for those tigers is being destroyed, I think they have a better understanding about how important it is to protect our environment.

So there you go…are zoos a good thing or a bad thing? I honestly don’t know. There are three little boys who think they’re pretty cool, but how about you? For or against?

That’s all for this week—see you next Thursday.

Best,
Shirley

5 comments:

BW said...

I have mixed emotions about zoos now. However, my mixed emotions are because I have been on a photo safari and have actually seen the animals in the wild.

SandyG265 said...

I wish we could keep all animals in their natural habitat. Unforntunately the only place some species have a chance of surviving is in Zoos.

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Oooh, lucky you, BW!! I'd love to do something like that someday! And Sharon, good point about a species surviving thanks to zoos. This one yesterday had several different babies...gorillas, lemurs, a python (didn't think the last one was that cute, but then again, never been overly fond of snakes!)I guess the animals that I felt the sorriest for were the bears and the large cats. Several of them were doing a lot of pacing, like they were really bored. Again, I have mixed feelings.

Sharon said...

I think if they only had animals that couldn't survive in the wild (like injury)they could be kept in a zoo. The smaller animals don't bother me as much as the large ones that need the space (elephants, rhinos, Tigers)

Karen said...

My sister worked at a zoo for many years and is now involved in rescuing/rehabilitating drill monkeys and chimps in Africa. If you were to ask her this question, she would say that zoos would love NOT to have to exist. Zookeepers do everything they can to provide the animals with a bearable existence, often at their own expense. (She made $19,000/yr, lived in poverty to be able to buy things to keep her animals from being bored). It isn't perfect, it isn't even close. But the animals you see in zoo are either results of breeding from zoo programs to try to increase animal numbers or are rescue animals that would otherwise be a coat or exotic dinner food.

Unfortunately, in 3rd world countries, animals do not have value except as meat or trade. The bush meat trade is huge - and you would not believe how much is smuggled into even our country. For people who have no other means of a protein food, not to mention something to trade for things they need, it doesn't matter than an animal is on the endangered/ extinction list.

These animals habitats are being destroyed with development. Their existence is in danger. Some of these animals no longer have a place to survive & reproduce except in zoos. It's horrific, but its true.

So, are zoos a good thing. In an imperfect world, I would say they are. But it would be better if we didn't need them.