You’ve all probably heard by now about Marius the giraffe that was ‘murdered’ and dismembered ‘in front of children’ in Copenhagen.
Instead of everyone calling for the resignations of the keepers and veterinarians at the Copenhagen Zoo, quit your knee-jerk reactions to the spinning of the details by some animal rights groups and random people on the internet and EDUCATE YOURSELVES so that you can form your own opinion and be able to answer more than ‘It’s just wrong.’ when someone asks you why.
As an example, just think back to the O.J. Simpson trial. that was a HUGE deal here in the U.S. (That may have been before some of you were born, damn, I’m old.) There were people physically fighting over the guilt or innocence of Mr. Simpson. My questions to people with such strong opinions were, ‘Where you there? Did you see it happen? Were you on the jury and presented with evidence? No? then where does your opinion come from? Oh, you have a feeling. He looks guilty. You watched the trial on T.V.’ The media only shows you what they want you to see, if you weren’t there, you don’t really know what happened.
Granted, it is sad to hear of any animals’ passing at the hand of humans, but we do more of it on a daily basis than most zoos will do in their entire operating lives, by overpopulating the planet, destroying habitats all over the world for our own use and various other human interferences with nature. Sport hunting, sport fishing, culls of various species, pollution, poisonous landscaping, etc. I think you are getting the picture.
Fact is that zoos are both good and bad and that is usually based on someones opinion, rather than fact. Some have saved many species from the brink of extinction with hopes of repopulating them in the wild, and they offer us a unique educational experience that we would not otherwise have. We can see species from all over the world that we wouldn’t even know existed if it weren’t for the local zoo.
Unfortunately, zoos are expensive to maintain and they tend to fall victim to corporatism and entertainment. CEO’s worship the currency gods, if the balance sheet doesn’t make sense and they aren’t seeing profits, they don’t want to hear that there’s another mouth to feed.
People don’t go to a zoo to learn for the most part, they want to be entertained. They want to ‘ooh and aah’ at the animals that are safely tucked away on display behind fences. They use ‘teaching the kids about animals’ as an excuse to go to the zoo themselves. Keep too many adult animals without the token baby for the ‘aww how cute’ factor and people will lose interest. Most kids don’t want to just look at animals being animals, sleeping cleaning, eating. They want the animals’ attention. They want to touch them, play with them, bang on the glass, rattle the cage, etc. Zoos are no place for that. If you are a responsible adult who really wants to teach a kid about animals, enroll them in a local wildlife program that will teach them the respect they so desperately need.
It is unfortunate that this event has gained the attention of the press. This was a huge educational experience that the Copenhagen zoo felt important to share. Should they have handled it differently? Yes, I feel they could have. I think it should have been a closed event, only open to people who were in university or to other zoological staff.
Maruis was not endangered, he was genetically deficient for breeding according to the zoo and was better off being used as an educational tool and a welcomed meal for the lions, who would have most likely eaten him in the wild anyway.
There are pros and cons to any way that you handle captive animals. There are sanctuaries closed to the public that protect and rehabilitate wildlife, there are zoos that basically do the same, but open their doors to the public. They wish to educate, not to entertain. Then there are the zoos that are in it for the money. They are basically there to make money at the expense of the animals. The latter being the ones that need to be shut down. Don’t even get me started on aquariums.
Captive animals and their treatment is a very touchy subject for a lot of people. Most of whom are not educated enough on the subject to make a determination either way. If you want to have an opinion and have it make a difference, learn what you are fighting for, don’t just point fingers because someone else showed you a graphic photo on Twitter. then do whatever you are capable of doing to make a difference.
Why don’t we start by looking in our own backyard? Maybe learn about the species that are native to where we live and do whatever we can to make them safe and comfortable in our presence. Put out a bird feeder, plant some flowers for the bees, etc. There are many other things we could be doing that would make a TANGIBLE difference, instead of arguing on the internet over a giraffe that we cannot bring back to life.
The information is out there people, don’t be sheep. Learn what is worth fighting for.
Stepping down from soap box now, you may resume your day.
A couple more links in case I’ve inspired you to learn something;