Sorry, another sad current event. One day I’ll have a truly happy one, but today is not that day.
Honestly, I don’t have a positive opinion on zoos, but I just want to clarify that this current event is not attacking zoos in general. Regardless of whether it’s ethically okay to keep wild animals in captivity I think most people (with a sensible background knowledge concerning zoos/animals) can agree there is no reason to continue taking animals from the wild. We have many animals of many different species kept in captivity and given technological advances, such as in vitro fertilization, we can keep their population size relatively stable. In fact, in some zoos, specific species are euthanized upon birth (not rodents or other small mammals, but giraffes and lions!!!), which you can see here and here. So I find the argument that more animals are needed in zoos to be absolutely ridiculous. Especially when many of these animals’ wild populations are already being threatened by humans. Even claims that we are ensuring their future seem a bit far off to me considering we are ruining the chance their wild population can recover as we are stealing their babies.
But, I digress.
Friends of Animals had filed a lawsuit trying to protect 18 elephants whom were being held in quarantine after being taken from the wild. (Though we have recently learned one died while in quarantine, but it’s for the good of the species, so don’t worry). This lawsuit was against USFWS who were the ones that granted the permit for 3 zoos- Dallas Zoo, Sedwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. The zoos who were rightfully worried their permit would be denied secretly sent a plane to Swaziland to obtain the 17 elephants. One man found out they were in the works of taking the 17 elephants and immediately notified Friends of Animals who immediately applied for a restraining order, which was granted. However, the zoos had already moved to anesthetize, crate and move the elephants onto the plane. With a statement from the zoos’ vets, the restraining order was lifted and the elephants were on their way. This was the first time since 2003 the U.S. took elephants from the wild to populate zoos’ elephant populations.
I don’t want to rant much, but I just find this absolutely disgusting. Different species handle captivity differently, but elephants do horribly in captivity. In the wild they walk on average about 30 miles a day. They have complex social structures, communicate to one another through stomach rumbles, mourn death, celebrate life, and truly never forget. Regardless of the ethics of keeping animal in captivity, we have enough elephants in zoos, there is no reason that after 13 years of not taking any elephants from the wild that we need to start doing so again. More information can be found here. And if anyone is interested here is the facebook page against the transfer.