Recently I travelled through Turkey and I was very disturbed by a small zoo in the back of a petrol station/ diner that we stopped at along the way.
I must say that when I hear the magic words, “a small zoo” or “private zoo”, my blood curdles.
For some reason best known to themselves, certain people with money think that it is appropriate and entertaining to others to imprison any animal they can capture, stick it behind bars in a tiny cubicle and show it off.
I really didn’t want to look but then I thought I could hardly complain about it if I didn’t – and who knows – it just might be a delightful place for animals to be imprisoned.
Unfortunately it was not.
I should have taken photos but I couldn’t even bring myself to do that.
First off there was a cage containing a lonely golden retriever dog, who had obviously given up all hope. It lay on its side, oblivious to the world, in a tiny and narrow cage without water. A crudely written sign on the cage said simply, “Golden”. Two cages down was a husky, also in a narrow lonely cage without water. Why they couldn’t have put the two dogs in a cage together instead of separating them, I don’t know. However I guess it made for a much better exhibit to have them separated and alone so that we could work out which dog was which.
In fact, 90% of the cages had a single animal in them – a camel, a monkey, a deer and the dogs. There were also some threadbare roosters and hens scratching around in a tiny little cage. At least they were allowed to be together.
I don’t like the chances of the deer either because in the diner in pride of place on the wall was a set of antlers and a skull.
There was also a dog outside a cage, attached to a short chain and also with no water bowl.
I might add that it was peak summer and unbearably hot and not one of the animals had access to any water whatsoever.
Well, I have today received some wonderful news about this horrid ‘zoo’. I contacted PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and they contacted their Turkish branch and closed the zoo down last week! Isn’t that terrific? And the camel, birds and monkey are being sent to animal reserves but the dogs belong to the owner and won’t be released. However, PETA is keeping track of them. Please give a donation to PETA to thank them for doing this great job. I did. http://www.peta.org/donate/default.aspx
Last weekend I read in the Sydney Morning Herald about the distasteful and nasty zoos on the tops of shopping centres in South East Asia. If you can bear to see a sad gorilla in a cage all by himself or orangutans sadly staring out of cages, have a look at http://www.theage.com.au/world/department-store-zoo-animals–trapped-in-an-urban-jungle-20100903-14ubn.html
Have you heard of the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, Thailand? People come from all over the world specifically to see this temple and interact with the tigers which are docile enough to be patted.
There are now a great number of people who are extremely suspicious about this so called tiger sanctuary, specifically now that it has applied for ‘zoo’ status. Read one person’s opinion http://hubpages.com/hub/Tiger-Temple-Thailand. It is an interesting article so have a read.
Further in the above article the author cites a letter from the International Tiger Coalition and containing serious concerns about the tiger temple. To quote:
Letter from the International Tiger Coalition
On October 7th 2008 the International Tiger Coalition wrote to Mr Chaleermsak Wanichsombat, the Director General of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department to express their concerns over their ‘concern about the captive breeding and trans-border movements of tigers by the Tiger Temple at Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery in Kanchanaburi and about the facility’s claims to support tiger conservation.’
The letter from the International Tiger Coalition goes on to say:
‘ Our second concern relates to tiger breeding at the Wat Pa Luangta Bua facility, which has no credible connection with accredited conservation breeding programmes that are deemed to support the survival of wild tigers. You may be aware that in 2007, CITES adopted Decision 14.69 which states that “Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives”. It should first be noted that circumstances in which the release of captive-bred tigers to the wild can make a contribution to the conservation of wild tigers are virtually non-existent.
In any case, one wonders how it is that tigers, which are predators and not known for being cuddly pussy cats, can be handled by members of the public without losing a hand. What methods are being used to sedate or dominate the tigers?
What horrors lie below the surface at this so called temple?
In March, 2010 a private zoo Shenyang Forest Wildlife zoo in Liaoning Province in China starved eleven of its Siberian tigers to death because it couldn’t afford to feed them. The zoo has now been closed down but according to http://www.beijingtoday.com.cn/news/zoo-closed-after-starving-its-tigers-to-death there are more than 30 wildlife zoos in China, some of which were set up by local governments with private investmen, and 90% of these illtreat their animals.
To quote directly from the website –
The first private zoo opened in Shenzhen in 1993. More quickly followed, but financial problems caused them to quickly deteriorate.
Guo Geng, vice director of Beijing Biodiversity Research Center, said 90 percent of the country’s private zoos are poorly managed.
“It’s hard for private zoos to keep a balance between revenue and animal protection,” Guo said. The more private capital the zoos have, the more they fall apart, he said.
In an unscrupulous bid to increase revenue, some zoos release animals that are natural enemies into cages to entertain visitors with gory death matches. Some train their animals to perform stunts. Those most financially-strapped leave them to starve, he said.
Media exposed a private zoo in Hubei Province that starved eight of its 11 lions to death after being mired in financial difficulties in 2005. The daily cost of feeding all its other animals was 200 yuan combined–the same amount needed to sustain one lion.
“The horrible actions of the Shenyang zoo are not an isolated incident,” said Hua Ning, project manager of the China Office of US-based International Fund for Animal Welfare.
“These tigers died because of a widespread, long-running tradition of cruel treatment at China’s private zoos,” she said.
Mind you, the above is just a discussion about private ‘zoos’. How about the public zoos in China that charmingly feed live animals to the displays? Yep, you can catch a little train around the zoo and at feeding time see a live antelope tossed in the lions’ exhibit. Can you imagine it? The locals find it quite exhilarating and come to the zoo to satisfy their blood lust. They do so love animals over there!
I’d say that China is at the bottom of the tree when it comes to kindness to animals which are usually just seen as something to eat.
However unsavoury incidents occur in public zoos throughout the world and these are quickly hushed up. Animals escape cages which negligent staff have left open and it is the animal that pays the price by being shot. For example, in February 2007 a 140-pound jaguar named Jorge killed a zookeeper at the Denver Zoo before being fatally shot. Zoo officials said later that the zookeeper had violated rules by opening the door to the animal’s cage. This type of incident is fairly common.
In 2007 Kual, a pregnant greater one-horned rhinoceros at Taronga Zoo died in what seemed suspicious circumstances. Media reports at the time speculated that the four year old rhino which was purchased from overseas began to put on so much weight that the zoo put it on a diet. They didn’t realize it was pregnant and it died of intestinal problems (or was it starvation?). Other media reports at the time suggested that its intestines were full of sand from its bedding. The zoo immediately instigated a media blackout on the incident and the RSPCA, although refusing to release the results of its investigation into the death, stated that they had found no evidence of cruelty in the animals’ veterinary records or in keeping standards.
Read Taronga Zoo’s discussion of the matter at http://www.taronga.org.au/tcsa/media/media-releases/full-circle-of-life-played-out-at-zoos.aspx
These days most public zoos have recognised how distasteful it is to shove animals in small cages as was once the trend. Zoos like Dubbo Zoo in Australia allow animals to interact and enjoy a more natural habitat.
Security in zoos is always an issue and I still remember the night many years ago that some drugged up teenagers broke into Adelaide Zoo in Australia and slaughtered dozens of defenceless animals in the exhibits in a depraved orgy. Just recently four teenagers were charged over the bashing of a blind and 80 year old flamingo at Adelaide Zoo.
And in 2008 at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, a vile seven year old fed animals in the exhibit to a crocodile –
A turtle, four western blue tongue lizards, two bearded dragons, two thorny devil lizards and a 1.8 metre adult female Spencer’s goanna were fed or led into the jaws of a three-metre, 200kg saltwater crocodile named “Terry”.
Security camera footage at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre showed the smiling youngster also bludgeoning to death a small blue tongue lizard and two more thorny devils during a half-hour of breakfast-time havoc.
It is very sad that the whole zoo trade ever began. Baby animals were stolen from their mothers and their parents killed. However nowadays zoos have breeding programs and many animals which are almost extinct in the wild (pandas, orangutans, gorillas, tigers and rhinos for example) are at least still alive in zoos throughout the world. With sharing programs between zoos they have been able to breed most endangered animals. However, these animals know nothing of living in the wild and would not survive should they be released in their native environment (if there’s any of it still remaining).
Nevertheless, according to http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-all.html
There is only one way to meaningfully stand up for the rights of all beings, and that is to relinquish one’s own stake in the slavery of animals, and to embrace a lifestyle in which all sentient beings are afforded the most basic of rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
INTERESTING ANIMAL BLOG
I have found an interesting blog on environmental matters and animals in Singapore wildsingaporenews.blogspot.com/2010_04_27_archive.html
HORROR ANIMAL STORY FROM AUSTRALIA
Talking about nasty humans, allegations have been made that three Torquay College students used a steel pole to kill a kangaroo while on a school camp on September 8 at the Great Otway National Park in Anglesea.
What a charming story. Why are a greater number of children becoming so cold hearted and blood thirsty that they are able to perpetrate such cruelties on defenceless animals? What does that tell us about society today? These are the same sorts of people who are scaling the walls of zoos at night and slaughtering the exhibits.
HERE ONE MINUTE AND GONE THE NEXT
And of course, pity any critically endangered animals if a human gets their hands on them.
According to http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/7963752/rare-sighting-in-laos-of-mysterious-beast villagers in Laos captured a critically endangered saola in August and took it to their remote community, but it died after a few days in captivity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said in a statement.
One of the world’s rarest animals, The secretive and mysterious twin-horned saola is one of the world’s rarest animals and this was the first sighting in a decade, conservationists say. And well, then it was captured and imprisoned and hey presto, it died within days.
Good work guys.