Zoo Animals

One of the neat ideas we had right after school ended last semester was to visit the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. There were five us all together (Amy, David, Chase, Wee and Me) and we had a great time. There were tons of wonderful animals to see, some I had seen before and some I hadn't: polar bears, sea lions, wolves, bears, otters, zebras, alligators, lions, panthers, chimpanzees, baboons, giraffes, ostriches, bison, elk, puffins and my personal favorite, the gorillas. I loved watching them, but I also hated it. I was drawn back over and over again, every time we passed them to and from the many parts of the park. They sit like I would it I was in an enclosure without hope of leaving. They play as I would if I didn't have much else to do and they think like I would if I knew I didn't have freedom. I know the overall goals of our zoological parks is to educate, inspire and create a sense of wonder, enjoyment and discovery in those who visit. I know we have a responsibility for taking care of animals in our world and for recognizing our interdependence with one another, but sometimes I wonder what that means for me. Is it excusable to use animals to educate people? Is it reasonable to put animals in enclosures which simulate but never provide the true sense of freedom that an animal desires? Do animals deserve freedom? I know most zookeepers probably answer these questions early in their careers tentatively, but ultimately with a "yes." We are all interconnected with one another, but seeing it face-to-face in the case of a gorilla or giraffe helps drive home the point even further. I think it certainly did with me when I saw it, as I hope it does with many others as well. Animals deserve our love and our respect and, as much as we can possibly provide it, they deserve their freedom. It is my belief that we have far too much in common to think anything otherwise.