I sat and watched them for what seemed like hours. It was not. The zoo was crowded and there were a million opinions flying. Idiotic frat boys calling out the gorilla names in a mocking tone in attempts to gain their attention. Then making jokes. Or the million parents “oohing and awing” as they pointed out the animals to their young-ins. That is the life of a zoo.
As I watched them, I was sad. I do get a bit excited as I see the big Silverback eyeing the crowd. Or the rest of his troop soaking up the sun. This excitement is often short lived.
I look at their eyes and watch the way that they watch us. I wonder what they are thinking. I believe that they know there is more to life than what is in the confinements of their walls. They are not stupid animals. They watch. They observe. They know.
The fact that I am at the zoo is misleading enough for some. This paired with the fact that I realize I may never see these animals otherwise may lead some to deduce that I am “glad” for zoos. That is a quote and this is not to call anyone out. The comment was meant in a kindhearted, educated manner. However, it led me to feel I needed to clarify something.
I am not naive to the situation of zoo animals. My acceptance of zoos should also not be misconstrued as being “glad”, “happy” that they exist. Zoos are a man-made. Made because humans are selfish. Made because some humans have good intentions in a less than desirable situation. Still zoos are a necessary evil….not all zoos. There is a fine line and there are some “zoos” that should most definitely not be called zoos. Alas, zoos are inevitable and the animals that live there…they can no longer live out in the wild, or never lived there to begin with. I’m not lost to the disheartening implications of this.
I am also not naive, or foolish, enough to believe that zoos indicate “wild animals.” I am well aware that there is no wild left in these animals. They have instincts by nature, but that essence in which makes them “wild,” well, man took that from them a long-long time ago.
We often make assumptions of people, because we hold in such high regard our own situations and opinions. We tend to be dismissive and think we know their character because we view our perspective as so much better. Though, the comment that provoked this post was meant as nothing more than a kind-hearted perspective for consideration…it still left me feeling bad, because of the fact that I went to a zoo.
I would do anything to hop on a plane and go gallivanting in the mountains of Uganda on a gorilla trekking tour. Sweat it up in the Congo. This is high on the bucket list, but it is also a decades worth of pay. Maybe had I been a different person, the idea of this type of trip wouldn’t seem so financially impossible. However, this girl….she’s made many of mistakes. Financial obligations that make achieving such a “once in a lifetime” trip almost unattainable. This does not mean that it is not important to me. It does not mean that it is not something that I want. It means that I am realistic about my situation and the odds of it being achieved; especially, in a world where our tomorrow is very much in jeopardy.
I watch live safari viewings and things of that nature. Animal documentaries when I have the chance, but it doesn’t replace seeing them in person. Seeing them in a zoo…by no means does that introduce to the same animal we would see in the wild, but this is the world that we live in .
I would hope that in my time blogging, and the occasions that I speak upon animals, that my care and love for animals has become quite apparent. That I would not go to the zoo to be unkind, unloving, or lacking in decent behavior. I actually am naive enough to believe that the fees we pay to get into the zoo, that they actually go towards the well-being of the animals.
Whether we like it or not, this is their home. They deserve recognition and they deserve the funding to ensure that they are able to maintain their lives, because if not….the next situation may be even less ideal. I also like to believe that being able to go t the zoo gives me the opportunity to “check up” on the animals, evaluate the situation, and make notes of the things that I can demand change for. That is where I fall on the naive scale, I know, but it is the best option to an extremely unfortunate situation.
We view situations and make assumptions about what should be. This is fine, but we also do not tend to think about the alternatives. We want to believe everything would be coming up daisies if the situations were different, but sometimes that pretty little flower is still just a weed. Sanctuaries here in the states, not really any better than zoos. Most of these animals, should the zoos be closed, would not go “wild life preserves.” They would go to other zoos, or “sanctuaries.” They will never be released into the wild and the alternatives are not always the best. Not all zoos are also bad places. Not all zoos are good places. There are places that have animals that should very much be shut down and have their hides beat to the next day. We have to pick our battles and we have to think of the outcome. Outcomes are not always what we want them to be.
Again, this does mean that I am “glad” that zoos exist. It means that I accept that they do and I realize the alternative could be worse. I am not malevolent towards animals and my going to a zoo shouldn’t be misconstrued as otherwise. I’m also sorry if that puts my character into question. If it makes you think less of me because of such. There’s really nothing that can be done about that.
I just wanted to see beautiful gorillas. I wanted to share photos that I was proud of, because at the end of the day…they are still big beautiful animals that deserve to be seen.
I am sorry for the ranty type post. I really just needed to get it off my chest as the comment I read…well, again…over-thinker and so it has been running rapidly through my head. It marinated overnight and so I really just wanted to state my peace.
I appreciate everyone’s opinions because we all have them. I also appreciate everyone that takes the time to read my blog. I hope that you like the picture.
Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~