It’s been a bad few weeks for zoo animals in North America. Harambe, a silverback gorilla in the Cincinnatti Zoo, was shot to death after a young child found his way into the large primate’s enclosure. Rebel, a gray wolf at a Wisconsin Zoo, was killed so he could be tested for rabies after a child was bitten on the fingers through a fence while in a restricted area. And at a small petting zoo set up for children in Ontario, animals were left without shelter or water on a sweltering summer day.
As the harsh reality of life in a zoo has started settling upon the North American pop media psyche, familiar questions have started arising: do animals belong in zoos? Aren’t zoos helping conserve endangered species? How else will children learn about animals?
We don’t have the answers to all of these questions – only more questions, really. But to help us ask them of ourselves, and to explain what we can do to improve the lives of animals in zoos, Defender Radio was joined by children’s book author and head of non-profit Zoocheck, Rob Laidlaw.
Note: Top photo of a wild gorilla in central Africa, not Harambe.
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