Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I’m the kind of Mum who wouldn’t take her children to circuses because I don’t like the performing animals in captivity thing.

I’m a bit of a hypocrite though because have been to a lots of zoos (and I post pictures of elephants being used in the tourist industry!) I was not going to miss the opportunity to see the pandas in China the summer before last, either. But zoos upset me when I see the animals looking disturbed: that odd rocking movement and mangy looking fur are guarantees to start my tears flowing.

I want my children to see the animals too: hell, I want to see them. I LOVE big cats, I love the bottoms of animals (I know, I know I probably shouldn’t say it out loud, but have you ever just stood and looked at an elephant/hippo’s back end? They’re divine. No psychoanalysis please!)

I know zoos are wonderful places in that it’s a privilege to see animals we wouldn’t otherwise see, but it makes me a bit uncomfortable. It makes me feel it’s just about man’s power over every other species; we put them into captivity because we can. But should we?

(Rescue places are different: Monkey World in Wareham, Dorset is totally fab, and visitors are encouraged in order to raise money for the rescue work – but the animals come FIRST).

Back to Thailand, and I’ve been watching them build some kind of promotional exhibition at my local Mall, Emporium, over the last week or so. We went this weekend and both the inside and the outside were finished. It’s quite astonishing, that I hardly know how to describe it. It’s called ‘Save the Global Tropical Paradise: Flora and Fauna Exotica’ and they’ve built a jungle environment both inside and outside the Mall. Inside are parrots and a glass room full of butterflies. Among the outside creatures are real iguanas, Bengali tiger cubs, pythons and some furry critter I couldn’t identify.

So rightly or wrongly, I couldn’t resist going to look at the those wee tiger cubs
yesterday and I’m leaving you with some pictures of my visit.

And tomorrow, if you’re really lucky, I may post some of my bottom pictures: that’s the bottoms of the animals that I’ve photographed. Not my bottom, okay?


Carol and Chris said...

Animals bottoms........

I'm quite speechless (and that doesn't happen often!!)

C x

Jen said...

Crumbs, what a lavish idea! I'm in the same camp as you regarding animals in captivity but, oh, those tiger cubs are even cuter than the new Paddington Marmite adverts.

Bottoms please :)

Lane said...

Those tigers are just delectable....and I quite like those green things too.

Backsides here please too. I love elephant bums.

hellojed said...

Gorgeous! I also feel a little strange in zoos. The best one I went to was the Australia Zoo, it's absolutely huge.

A. Writer said...

Yep, I'm funny about Zoos too. I went to Edinburgh Zoo last year and I felt so sorry for all the animals. The Polar Bear looked ill and bored. Sad.

The tiger cubs look so cute! I want one! lol!

I've never looked at an Elephants bottom but the next time I have a chance to, I'll do it!

High Priestess of Punk-chew-ation said...

A word in defence of zoos. The best of them perform an invaluable conservation role, saving species from extinction, undertaking important research and contributing to maintaining the biodiversity of our planet. Ok, if man hadn't destroyed the planet in the first place, we wouldn't need zoos now, but he did and we do. Without zoos, the golden lion tamarin (amongst others) would now be extinct. If you don't know what one looks like, Google it. You won't be sorry. Can't speak for the eco-credibility of the Emporium's display, but the tiger cubs sure are cute!

JJ said...

Carol, wow, if I'd known it was that easy, I'd've done it before!

Jen, it's such a strange place in terms of opposites - enormous povery and over the top lavishness, just next door.

Lane, Aren't they? And the green things are iguanas. Husband says I should go and hold one... maybe...

Hellojed, Hello! The visible signs upset me most: I saw a panther in Barcelona doing that weird rocking backwards and forwards, and it just nearly broke my heart.

A.Writer, well, then my dear, you haven't yet lived!!! I will put that right immediately. See today's post!

HPoP, you are absolutely right. Many zoos are very responsible. The pandas we saw in Beijing are almost certainly there for the seeing because the species is being kept alive by man. It's a tough one, I love the animals, I love to see them up close, but they make me sad too.


Rebecca said...

I know what you mean about those depressed looking animals and scabby fur - I went to a zoo in Athens once and I was shocked at how very, very awful it was. The animals looked sick and miserable.

But those tigers look very healthy and happy....(and can't wait for the bums!)

Fiona said...

I think Hippo bottoms look huggable but I prefer pigs' bottoms myself.

CTaylor said...

I went to Monkey World back in February and I had very mixed feelings. Good feelings because the animals had been rescued and were being safely cared for and horrible feeling because so many of the animals were mentally, physically and emotionally scarred by the way they'd been treated by humans before they were rescued and, no matter how much they were loved and cherish, they'd never be 'normal' again.

I felt rotten and relieved all at the same time.

Mel said...

wow, who knew there were so many bottom lovers out there (those hippo butts are strangely appealing though! V.cute!)

I boycotted zoos after I went to Taronga in Sydney 15 years ago..I left crying seeing elephants chained in green painted concrete enclosures (supposed to be natural looking?) I ended up going to Steve Urwin's Australia Zoo a couple of months ago and it is really beautifully done, really open and unobtrusive..I was really impressed because it was obvious it's sole purpose wasn't a money making venture like so many others, but conservation.

JJ said...

Rebecca, aren't they cute. Hope you like the bums.

Fiona, the hippos are very slappable, aren't they? (Should I say that outloud?) I love pigs, but I think visible ... uhm... bottom holes may be a no-no.

Cally, I know exactly what you mean. I felt overwhelmingly that they were loved there though, but it made me cry everytime I went. The other thing to totally freak me out at Monkey World, was how incredibly human they are.

Mel, yeah, I understand why you boycotted. That's why I'm a hypocrite, but as HPoP pointed out some zoos are excellent research centres, and undoubtedly kept certain species alive.