Controversy of Zoos
This post is a bit more about the environmental side of me, though I did get inspiration to actually write this post from a photo series called Modern Wilderness by photographer Daniel Zakharov.
I enjoy visiting zoos and seeing the animals. I do. But at the same time, you can see the animals who have been their the longest become “stereotypy” , meaning that they do the same exact things over and over again – like pacing a rut into the ground or swimming in the same circle. It’s sad. I, also, avoid zoos without enrichment activities or proper enclosures.
I live in Oregon and this wonderful state has a really nice zoo in most cases. The enclosures feel less like cages and more like small habitats – in most cases. In a few instances, the zoo is just generally limited in space. The Oregon Zoo is currently working on greatly expanding the Asian elephant exhibit which is very exciting, especially for the elephants. They are, also, planning on renovating the polar bear exhibit which is also awesome. The zoo recently finished a new habitat for their orangutans which gives them some outdoor space to swing on ropes and branches. Some of the other primates aren’t so lucky.
Even with some of the flaws that zoos have, they can be a good thing especially with the way that the planet is being destroyed. More and more animals are becoming extinct or critically endangered due to habitat loss and/or poaching. Some animals are kept from going extinct because they live in zoos. This makes zoos a double-edged sword, on one edge, they capture animals – or a lot of the time, save them because they were injured, lost, alone – for humans to gawk at; on the other side, they’re helping rehabilitate animals and potentially saving species.
Below, is a short artist statement from Daniel Zakharov about his Modern Wilderness series, followed by a few photos from that series.
This series addresses the issue of animals in imprisonment. My intention not to critisize what zoos, but to focus on the strange and bizarre daily life of animals. Nowadays animals are born in captivity, between concrete, tiling, cement-slab buildings and artificial landscapes instead of the endless stretch of nature. In the meantime, the zoo has become home for the animals and they have lost the memory of Their ancestral breeding grounds. HOWEVER by looking them in the eyes, one gets the feeling of Recognizing Their desire for true destiny.
All images in this post belong to Daniel Zakharov.
You can view more images from the series here.