Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 3:22 pm Posts: 441 Location: USA
Maybe it is time to start a baby-animalfree campaign? European zoos are letting zoo animals breed and raise their young until they are of seperation age, and then they kill the young. They see that as a better alternative than contraception (which US uses), because “We have already taken away their predatory and antipredatory behaviors. If we take away their parenting behavior, they have not much left.”
I appreciate that at the end someone pointed it out as a marketing thing for the zoos. The zoos usually get an increase in traffic for newly born exotic animals (like leopard cubs). They have a financial interest in their animals having babies. Pretty sure they don't tell the viewing public "these are the leopard cubs born as we did not want to give the animals contraception, so we will be euthanizing them when they expire their cuteness" or sorry, "reach maturity".
I have lots of problems with zoos, and this would be one of them. Even they acknowledge they have restricted so much else of their natural life and behavior that they let them breed even when the young will be euthanized. How is that a positive thing? In the interest of full disclosure and honesty, I will say that I was at the San Diego Zoo a few months ago as part of our annual work retreat. It was the first time I had been to a zoo since I was a child. Some of the animals had plenty of room and seemed content enough, but I was so, so sad for some of the bears that were clearly displaying very anxiety-driven behavior because of being enclosed, in hot weather, and so on, and I wanted to punch a couple people in the face I saw taunting animals, including a full grown man taunting a lion and a young child irritatingly taunting a young ocelot.
I do believe in preserving populations, but there are ways to do that without zoos where breeding programs just breed more animals for captivity.
WTF!!!!! The zoos near me that let their animals breed do so in participation of captive breeding endangered species to return to the wild, like mexican gray wolves and black rhinos. WOW. That is seriously F'ed up. Why bring something into the world just to kill it? What's the damn point?
Oooooo, they should BBQ all these animal babies and have a "Family Fun BBQ Baby Animal Day" at the zoo! Kids eat free!
And post pictures of the animal babies so's all the mommies and daddies and their kids coming to the event will see how beautiful the creature was before it was slaughtered for a kick-ass-tasty BBQ lunch!
What the flarking hell? Use the animals for increasing wild populations. Isn't that the point of most zoos these days? Safely breed more to increase endangered populations and release. Heck that's what you do in freaking Zoo Tycoon the computer game when things get overpopulated. Do they need to learn from a Sim?
I did volunteer behavioral and fertility research on ocelots at the zoo. I went through a set of classes at the zoo before starting, and there were many controversial issues, but it isn't as if the zoo isn't cognizant of it and hasn't thought it through ad infinitim. I asked many questions.
The first thing they taught us was how captivity created nervous disorders in the animals, and taught us what each major animal's most stressful thing was (usually being moved or adding an animal to their environment or changing their physical environment). They taught us which behaviors to look for that were stress indicators. And the work was sorting this out and then researching for visible fertility indicators. My job was literally to record every movement of the ocelots, down to any sound they made or whatever. They had implanted a telemetry device (I consider this controversial, too) to record body temperature, heart, etc. We were correlating the behavior and the readings. All this was in an effort to try to get ocelots to breed in captivity.
In captivity, they cannot even be in the same cage or they will kill each other (or there's a great possibility they would), so it's done with artificial insemination.
Keep in mind that for every questionable controversial thing done at the zoo, there is likely to be a greater work also going on paralleling it. In this case, they were carrying out this research in an effort to get a grant that would then enable them to lobby for legislature to deem the Texas ocelot endangered and stop hunters from killing it. They succeeded.
The overriding justification for even having a zoo, where wild animals are held captive, often to their detriment, is this: It is our greatest tool to teach future generations to love, respect, and have empathy for our wildlife. Without it, they would have little reason to think about it or care when the US sanctions the wholesale slaughter, for example, of hundreds of wolves, as is happening at this very moment. It is also true that but for the zoos and other wildlife preserves, such as Fossil Rim in Texas, many more species would be extinct. So a few animals are to some degree sacrificed to further education and awareness. And at least in some places, zoos are becoming much better habitats than zoos of the past.
On the subject of euthanizing the young, my personal knowledge is that animals they didn't wish to breed were spay/neutered. However, I do know of a situation at an outdoor drive-through, a very good endangered species facility, that has a big deer overpopulation problem, and of course everyone loves to see the baby deer, but deer breed very prolifically. I asked once if they fed them to the cheetah, and they said they used to until someone caught wind of it and it made for bad publicity, so now the meat just goes to waste. They weren't explicit about how they were controlling it, but I would guess they were euthanizing some older ones. But I am sure they neutered a good amount of the herd so they didn't have to do much of that. Of course, not every zoo type facility is as caring and humane. Some are probably only in it for the money, sadly.
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