Animals possess such beauty and mystery, traits which we as humans are drawn to, whether it be an ant carrying an object 10 times its own size, or a cheetah reaching impossible speeds of over 100km/hr. Many different programs and facilities have been built for animals, whether for breeding, rehabilitation, education or entertainment.
In my previous blog I spoke about the effects that captivity can have on an animal’s behavior, in particular the effects humans can have on them but it is not all negative, due to the immense study of animals we have been able to share some understanding and help those in need. This blog will be exploring some of the different facilities in which animals are being kept and the conditions they are living in.
Unfortunately many animals have become threatened or endangered, which is why many breeding programs have been established with the hope of releasing populations back into the wild to avoid becoming extinct. Programs such as the Mt Rothwell biodiversity interpretation centre which hold some of the last remaining populations of threatened species including the mainland Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Red Bellied Pademelon and Eastern Quoll.
Emdoneni Lodge in South Africa also has a release program for Cheetahs, Servals, Caracals and African Wildcats, where cats have been born in captivity or rehabilitated back into the wild. Rehabilitation centres have so many benefits, Emdoneni Lodge has become a well known facility in the area where local authorities bring sick or injured cats to be rehabilitated, in hope of releasing them back to their natural habitats, however sometimes it is not beneficial for the cat to be sent back (eg. loss of sight), in which case the cats are kept, cared for and often introduced to the breeding program.
Having an education of animals is important, we all love visiting zoos to see the animals, many zoos and wildlife parks have school programs designed for different ages to learn about the animals and their habitats in a fun interesting way, such as Zoos Victoria. Many zoos are not only for the enjoyment of tourists but also apart of international breeding programs (eg. Werribee Open Range Zoo), where millions of dollars have been funded into the enclosures alone in order to try and replicate their natural habitats as best as possible. Unfortunately, not all zoos worldwide share the same ideals and are simply about the tourism and the financial benefit it can claim. The images below are an example of differences in zoo treatments, both images are from the official websites of lions in their enclosures:
Unfortunately when it comes to entertainment, animals have a higher risk of cruelty. Throughout history, wild animals have been captured and put in arenas, circuses, or simply kept for personal entertainment and status (more on the history of animals in captivity in my next blog), fortunately most countries have criminalized the capturing of wild animals, however some public facilities are keeping the ‘legal’ animals in what should be illegal conditions. I believe, if animals are in captivity there should be a benefit for the animal itself, not just for the entertainment of others.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”, Gandhi.