Wondering why those tigers won’t come out and put up a show? Wishing that bear would move from its little hiding spot so you could snap a good picture? Waiting for a penguin to do something cute so you can capture it on camera? For some reason, you can actually snap a picture of all of these animals in one day, though they really shouldn’t be found in the same environment. Of course, people today don’t want to be troubled into actually going into nature to explore for themselves. Instead, they feel the need to connect by visiting a zoo. Rather than expecting something extraordinary in one of these tourist traps, maybe it is time you do something novel and start looking for animals in the wild instead.
It’s time you face the unavoidable truth: zoos are really not all that exciting. Sure, you can go to a big zoo and feel like you got to see some interesting animals. If you really want to learn about them, you can even pick up some random facts that will do you absolutely no good after you leave. In reality though, you are just getting a light taste of what nature is all about and ultimately you are missing out on the whole picture. A zoo is a controlled environment, and the reality is that nature is anything but. Just like a garden is the most unnatural place to observe flora, the zoo is the last place you should go if you really want to observe fauna.
While perhaps not the most impartial source for getting information about fair treatment of wildlife, a comprehensive study on wildlife was released this month that outlines just how poor some of the most common animals are treated when in captivity. Using the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), World Animal Protection worked to build a list of the world’s cruelest animal attractions commonly found in zoos. Some of these items might surprise you, like: performing dolphins, riding elephants or holding a sea turtle. Each of these examples is indicative of heavy animal abuse and mistreatment, which is what tames them to be suitable for tourists to view. In other words, you are not only seeing these animals outside of nature, but you are also getting a dumbed down and tortured version of what they could be. Though you might have been ignorant in the past, now you know just how much harm these activities really invite upon the animals.
You see this picture of baby alligators walking towards their mother? This is not something you just get to see in the zoo, as gators this young would surely not be out on display. Instead, this is the kind of opportunity you get when you search to see animals in the wild. Furthermore, you get to really observe these animals in their natural habitat, and so long as you keep your distance, you could learn a thing or two about how they really behave. In reality, even a terrifying animal like a Florida alligator is going to run away from a human in the wild. Of course, if your only experience is form a zoo, you wouldn’t know this, would you?