It is easy to overlook the good work that institutions like zoo’s and aquariums. That I do admit. Many of the animals who can no longer live in the wild for whatever reason now call some of these places their home. But the lack of space and freedom is really something I can’t understand. Perhaps it is because of my need for the same ideals.
Conservation and education is important. But so is our role as the only species on this planet to be able to consider, assess and evaluate certain issues. Is a lack of space justifiable in the name of conservation and education? In fact space to roam I think should be considered a number one priority for these animals. And this is something that is lacking in many zoos or aquariums. If we want to take care of animals and encourage people to do the same, perhaps we should recognize that their most fundamental need is to be in their habitat where they are free to roam at their own discretion and demise. But it is also is naive to think that we can totally protect them in their environment.
I think the message of the movie Blackfish says it best. You can treat them well, like how you would treat your loved ones. But at the end of the day, they will let you know where they truly belong either through genteelness or anger. Because more often than not, they know that where they are is not where they should be. Unless you’re an animal born in captivity I suppose.
An important Dr Suess quote states that,
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
This quote is taken from The Lorax; perhaps the best book and movie to explain this simple idea of conservation to all of us. I recommend you read or watch it if you haven’t already.
If we want to conserve, we have to start making sacrifices. A lot of them. If we live minimally then maybe there wouldn’t be a reason to deprive animals or their home. If we put as much effort to take care of our environment as we do ourselves, then maybe there wouldn’t be animals fighting for their homes or lives.
You see the world preaches that prevention is better than cure. But in reality, cure often is the solution. Look at all the oil spills? Such disasters happen over and over again and yet continue our oil exploits in the artic and the amazon; the two most fragile and important eco-systems on this planet. Because the possibility of a disaster is not enough reason to not do something.
In this era of sustainability, the latest PR stunt companies partake in is this new universal slogan or people, planet and profit. If it came down to a situation where they could only choose one, which do you think they would pick?
Many companies are too driven by profit to regulate themselves. And it is hard to regulate them. So we need to regulate ourselves. If we can diminish the demand then the supply would fall.
And at the end of the day all the zoo’s in the world would not be effective in teaching us about conservation if schools, parents and society at large continue with this life of excess.