Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Zoos & Beastly Savages

"In Augsburg, Germany, zoo officials were being criticized for a planned attraction that will show elephants and rhinos in their 'natural environment' by surrounding them with black men in grass skirts." -- Harper's Weekly

The more things change the more they remain the same. It seems that the modern zoo originated not far from Augsburg back in the 19th century. Here's a relevant blurb on a study of zoos, Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo:

. . . historian Rothfels tells the story of Carl Hagenbeck, who initiated the idea of modern zoos, with their naturalistic enclosures rather than cages, outside Hamburg, Germany in the middle 19th century. By the 1870s, his business had spread to the worldwide trade in exotic animals and indigenous peoples.

In China, a zoo went bankrupt this year because the local people couldn't afford to attend it. The zoo couldn't even afford to feed the animals. Out of some 800 animals, most starved to death. But the zoo was recently down to the last 1% of animals, the survivors consisting of major predators such as lions. Apparently they were being fed the other animals.

If you want support about how & why to check your local zoo for such atrocious practices, visit Zoo Check online. They have years of experience and some successes.

If you want to know how this relates to literature and cultural studies, read Reading Zoos by Randy Malamud.

If you don't care at all about anything, please give me a call. I can refer you to professional help.


Post a Comment

<< Home