“I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition;
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins;
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied-not one is demented with the mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;
Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.”
~~ Walt Whitman
I know there are people that don’t like them, and I understand that, but a recent trip to the San Diego blew me away.
Not only did I see all kinds of animals I’ve never seen before in real life….
But I learned the advantages for an animal living in a zoo.
For instance, in the wild a panda lives about ten to fifteen years. In captivity they often live thirty.
The elephants at that zoo don’t have hundreds of miles to wander, but they have quite an enclosure and once a week get a medical exam and even a pedicure.
And they breed many, many endangered species and release a huge percentage of them into the wild. They helped save the California condor.
I saw a wombat so close I could almost pet him.
I didn’t know about red pandas—that look a lot like big red raccoons—and saw one very close. He looked at me.
I got so close to a polar bear I could have petting him and hugged him had the glass not been there. Of course he might have maimed me…but I am pretending cuddling! He looked at me and didn’t seem at all unhappy.
So yes, confining these animals is sad.
On the other hand man is learning so very much about these animals and saving them as well.
And heck, a zookeeper did tell us how spoiled the polar bears are and somehow, that makes me happy.
Today I am grateful for zoos—good zoos that is. And that I had the opportunity to see such wonderful animals up close.