Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Taronga Zoo

On a recent lightning visit to Sydney, I went to Taronga Zoo for the first time in many years. The magnificent site of this zoo, with its great views back across the harbour to Sydney, is worth the admission price alone. Someone told me that the giraffe pen had the best views in Sydney:
And by the way, this goat also has luxury accommodation in one of the most expensive cities of the world:

Generally, the animals seem to be well treated and healthy. It is always a shame to see wild animals in captivity, but these days the zoos have valuable breeding programs and research departments that contribute to animal welfare. According to Taronga Zoo, their Asian elephants were saved from a life of begging in the streets of Thailand, and so I would prefer to see them interacting with the public at the zoo, rather than continuing to live in those circumstances:
However, this Burmese tiger seemed really distressed, and was continually pacing backwards and forwards inside its glass-walled enclosure:
I guess zoos are neither good nor bad, but necessary. Animals in the wild are still poached for meat or killed for profit, and their natural habitat is continually shrinking. At least at a zoo, they are treated humanely and have the best food and medical attention available. Because of this, and because they are separated from their natural predators (including man), many animals have longer lifespans in captivity than they would experience in the wild.

But you can't help but feel some sort of empathy for them as they sometimes look so forlorn:

I certainly wish we had better communication with the animals - I'd love to know their thoughts.