Based on "Hitozuma × Hitozuma 3" and "Hitozuma × Hitozuma 1.5" (HVG) by Discovery.
What is your opinion on zoos?
I think that the real world is neither ideal, nor is it simple.
People tend to project their own desires onto other living things.
For example, humans living in Western culture are really big on the concept of personal freedom.
They think it’s the most horrible concept in the world to ever be caged or prevented from doing as they please.
But not only is it not an opinion you would expect all animals to have, it’s not even an opinion all humans have. And the wild sucks.
It actually really does - wild animals live shortened lives, and tend to have messy and painful deaths by disease, infection, parasites, predation, and starvation.
Sure, they’re free - but they don’t get medical and dental care, and it’s awfully rough.
To assume they would actually prefer that, well… that’s quite an assumption.
Quite a projection. Zoos serve several crucial purposes. Humans are a rather evil species (though certainly not alone in that respect) - very aggressive and competitive.
They need to be close to things in order to empathize with them.
That’s why people are starving in some countries, and no one in the Western world thinks about them much.
They’re not directly in front of them, so there’s no genuine empathy. Zoos put animals directly in front of people, and teach them about them.
This inspires empathy.
Steve Irwin knew that, and said it often - people want to save what they love, and they love what they can touch and see up close.
That’s just how it is.
We need these animals to be ambassadors for their species so that humans will protect them and care about them. Zoos are also directly involved in captive species breeding programs that retain crucial genetic reservoirs of endangered species around the world.
These reservoirs are vital to saving many species from extinction.
If the wild populations crash or are poached out of existence, the reservoir can be used to repopulate the species.
Without them, these species may be lost forever - in no small number of cases, WOULD HAVE BEEN lost.
Surely the loss of a species is a far greater evil than the loss of a single individual. Zoos participate in conservation efforts around the world.
For example, Henry Doorly is involved in sending huge numbers of extremely cheap high-efficiency rocket stoves to the poorest people in Madagascar.
These stoves vastly reduce the amount of wood that people need to burn to cook their food, and thus help preserve the remaining forest. And zoos rely on money from donations and memberships to achieve these things.
They could never afford to do them without that income. Now, there are good zoos, and there are bad zoos.
No one approves of the bad zoos.
But the good ones? Well, when they do things right, they do them very right. (Above photo from Henry Doorly Zoo’s massive indoor rainforest exhibit, with many free-roaming birds, bats, fish, and turtles, and islands with primates, etc.)