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London Zoo

Yesterday we went to London Zoo.

I am well challenged by the idea of zoos anyway, many of them being among the most disgusting places on earth. It grates on me, to have some poor beast imprisoned to be stared at, no better than places like Sea World, where animals are trained to do tricks for food, glorified circuses. Horrible, the human animal displayed at its worst.

And yet the Zoological Society of London is engaged in conservation, and ticket costs contribute hugely to that; without zoos, I honestly fear tigers and rhinos are going to be made extinct entirely, by the loss of habitat, and by poachers feeding a market greedy for tiger extracts and rhino horn. So I am confused and conflicted by the issues involved.

There has to be a better way though, than these enclosures, big though they seem, never big enough. Nothing can make a bird permanently kept in a cage all right. If I ever win my billions on the lottery, I will create zoo island. Dr Moreau can stay home, and so can every other mofo who thinks the point of an animal is use or entertainment. I saw one woman bang on a glass, impatient to make the occupants do something interesting. They were tiny golden frogs, for Christ's sake. Was she expecting the Moulin Rouge?

Some animals seemed genuinely very happy; the otters, the giant tortoises, the squirrel monkeys. These last were particularly interesting. The 'compound' isn't; it's an open walkthrough. They have a couple of houses to stay in when it's cold. When the weather's hot they come play in the bushes and above our heads, clearly having an excellent time, and stealing whatever they can. Apparently they are canny little b*ggers; one will distract you with a cute overload, while the others rifle through your things. One landed in a lady's handbag and started exploring. One ran off with an iphone5. We understand the distraught owner got a text promising the phone's safe return in exchange for a crate of bananas. Negotiations are at a delicate stage...

They could run off but they don't because this is a sweet gig for them, fun and foodwise. But I remember the ring necked parrots of Kew, the ones who made a break for the skies. Now there are 10,000 breeding pairs in the South East. There are loads around here, and very happy they are too. Just a matter of time before the monkeys follow suit.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
abutterflygirl
Aug. 19th, 2013 10:43 am (UTC)
I share the same opinion of zoos. I'm hugely conflicted feeling that animals should be left to their natural habitats but given human behaviour I can accept their necessity. For me the hardest was being in Africa and seeing animals so close to their natural habitat but kept in enclosures. I agree that there has to be a better way!
smokingboot
Aug. 19th, 2013 11:06 am (UTC)
I didn't know you had been to Africa!

I find it all very hard. I was bought membership of the London Zoological Society as a present, and am going to use it to explore the zoo library, see if I can research its commitment to conservation.

cat_that_walks
Aug. 19th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of the meerkats in Belfast zoo, they have an enclosure but that bored them so they`ve dug more tunnels than your average POW camp and turn up all over the place. At last report the colony in Cave Hill (several miles from the zoo) was doing well.
smokingboot
Aug. 20th, 2013 06:17 am (UTC)
Fantastic! The Cave Hill Colony! If I ever get over there, please take me to see them :-) For my part, the only thing I am determined to do, come the zombie apocalypse, is get to the nearest zoo and let the beasties out.
cat_that_walks
Aug. 20th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
The meerkats run all round the zoo, they did tunnel into the lion enclosure but left rather quickly...
smokingboot
Aug. 21st, 2013 08:44 am (UTC)
:-D
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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