My startling confession

I have a startling confession to make. I don’t really talk about it too much. It’s just one of those things that one keeps to themselves most of the time. I don’t like zoo’s. There! I said it for the world to hear!

When I’ve gone to zoo’s, they always leave me with a bad taste in my mouth and they always make me feel sad inside. Quiet. Melancholy. I don’t feel bad for things like turtles or small animals like the bunnies or chickens. The reptiles, they seem happy. As happy as a turtle can seem that is. The one and only time I’ve gone to the zoo as a paying adult was one year when a cousin from Canada was here and we went to the Minnesota Zoo with them. I went to the Como Park zoo and the Minnesota zoo more times than I can count as a parent volunteer when the boys were in school and I never told anyone how I REALLY felt about zoo’s.

I mean when the Minnesota zoo opened up, it was so beautiful. The animals seemed to have a lot of room to roam around and there was so much land. They have an awesome monorail to ride in and see a lot of the animals in their “natural habitat” (if that’s possible in a zoo). But things like dolphins and polar bears, those are really the animals I feel bad for. It’s the same swimming and diving loops for them and they seem so cramped. Those animals don’t look happy.

Okay fine. I don’t like zoo’s so what’s the big deal? This is the big deal.  A Mexican wolf was shot and killed after it got out of its enclosure at the Minnesota Zoo Wednesday morning. Shot and killed!!! Boy, this makes my blood boil only because of the circumstances. Now they put these animals in a cage and then they are careless and didn’t repair a “small opening” that the wolf worked on to get out. A woman and her daughter went to an emergency box and called officials to tell them a wolf was out and they stormed in and just shot the wolf without trying anything else!

Okay, I know this has potential problems written all over it but the people there said the wolf was calm and nobody was in any imminent danger. Why not round everyone up and then try to tranquillize the wolf and put it back? They say it takes too long and “what if” someone got hurt? First of all, these animals are used to people and by all accounts, nobody was concerned for anyone.

Well, I’m not the only one who’s appalled by this. I guess they were just flooded with people mad about this wolf being shot as a first resort. Now the zoo is defending their actions because there was such a public outcry.

I’m the first person who would want public safety first. I’d be the first one to say you have to do what you have to do but I think this was lousy of the zoo. I think they panicked and stormed in there like a SWAT team and their first reaction was to shoot the wolf. The woman who called it in said the wolf was calm and nobody was panicked and they were safe in the emergency box. It was also negligent of the zoo not to fix that “wiggle room” opening that the wolf got out of in the first place. Shooting this wolf to kill it, in my opinion should have been the last resort and not the first.

This just makes me sad and it’s still on the news and every time I hear it I feel bad all over again. How do you feel about zoo’s? How does this make you feel? I know I’ll never go to that zoo again and after reading some of the blogs, I’m not the only one who feels this way. There are people who were there that say this never had to happen and they’ll never go back.

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8 Responses to My startling confession

  1. Jenny says:

    I was sad when I heard about them shooting the wolf. I believe they said they were worried about how long the tranquilizer would take affect. When I heard that on the news I thought WHAT? How come they couldn’t just use the tranquilizer. I also heard that they figured the opening in the fence came from all the snow that we had in the winter time. And no one knew about it. Its quite sad how everyone, even kids, had to watch this animal being killed. I love zoos and hopefully will plan on taking Hunter there this summer.

    • Joy says:

      I know Jenny but it’s a zoo. They should check their fences and enclosures. Isn’t that part of operating a zoo? I read that they knew there was “a slight opening” and the wolf smelled something that made him make the hole bigger. They think this wolf smelled another wolf from a flooded zoo from North Dakota and that’s why he wanted out. I think it’s the zoo’s fault. I also read the area had already bee evacuated so nobody was around. It’s such a waste.

      As far as zoo’s go. This is by far the nicest zoo I’ve been to and I’ve been to quite a few.

  2. SKL says:

    One thing I will say is that zoos have changed a lot over the decades since I was a kid. They really do make a better effort to give the animals a comfortable space that reminds them of their natural habitat. Of course it isn’t perfect, but what is?

    In the early 1990s, I worked for a company that made animal-theme toys, and zoos were our biggest customers. As the product development manager, I read and heard a lot about the balance between letting animals be as God intended, versus educating the public so they will actually care about animals. It was not that long ago that most people in the Western world had no idea what a giraffe was. Zoos brought that knowledge to people, but until recently, zoos were inhumane to the animals. There have been many debates about whether zoos should exist at all. But if you’d never seen an elephant, how would you get emotionally involved when you heard of elephants being endangered, or running out of natural habitat? Would you care as much about the illegal sale of ivory? Would you understand as well the impacts of deforestation on natural diversity? So the beastie folks decided to keep having zoos, but focus on education (about conservation, etc.) and being as humane as possible.

    I take my kids to the zoo. We’re lucky enough to live within about 20 minutes of the same zoo I walked to as a kid. There are awesome learning opportunities there. For the most part, the animals there were born in zoos and therefore have no idea they might be missing something by living in captivity. So I don’t feel guilty watching the animals there – at least, not most of them.

    As for this wolf business, I agree that it’s a shame. Accidents do happen and critters do get loose from time to time, but they should have had a better plan than to shoot the animal when it wasn’t even threatening to attack. If they were that freaked out and shooting from the hip, who’s to say they mightn’t have shot a human in the process? I wonder if the guy with the gun was afraid of animals in the first place. There should have been someone experienced with zoo animals who could come quickly with a tranquilizer gun or something. On the other hand, given the way Americans will sue for every dollar they can get, the zoo might have had a “kill escapee” policy to avoid lawsuits. Either way, it’s sad, but I’m pretty sure the wolf doesn’t really care at this point.

  3. Nikki says:

    I know, it’s sad…and at times I even feel bad for some of the animals. The kids love it, but they don’t connect it to being a bad thing. I just about had tears reading this…that poor wolf didn’t ask to be put in a zoo. You cage these animals up, and then not take 100% responsibility for keeping them in, safe and safe from being SHOT! Ugh…it really just makes me sad.

  4. Phyllis says:

    I hadn’t heard anything about this. I don’t like zoos either, and once my daughter became a teen I stopped going. I don’t enjoy looking at the animals, though I do like the petting zoos for kids. I believe the zoos do the best they can to imitate the natural habitat, but it’s still just that…. an imitation. The info listed about the animals in the fence signs (at least in our zoo here) in informative and interesting and a good way for people to learn and I’d much rather read about the various animals than look at them in cages.

    Shooting the wolf because it got out of it’s cage? Sorry, if there wasn’t any immediate danger to people or any of the other zoo animals, I just believe that it was the wrong and rather extreme reaction to circumstances. Why haven’t the various cages been checked to make sure they’re secure? Seems to me that’s just common sense when you have so many people visiting. Please, they make tranquilizer guns for the purpose of NOT harming animals. I don’t know for a fact, but it seems likely that the tranquilizers come in various doses according to the size of the animal, and i’d think they would be rather fast in taking effect.

    This is such a sad event! 😦 As well as being a huge waste!

  5. Nikki says:

    I learned something new about you! After I read this post last night, I told Jason. Apparently he knew! I don’t think it’s odd, or something that needs to be hidden. It shows how big of a heart you really have.

  6. Laura says:

    I do like zoos, but I can also understand your view, Joy. It’s sad when you see something like an eagle caged and unable to fly free, as they were intended to do.

    On the other hand, I grew up going to Brookfield Zoo, and they’re very concerned with conservation and education. Zoos have done some pretty remarkable work with animals like Pandas and tigers, who have been nearly wiped out by poaching. They (the zoos) have managed to breed the animals in captivity and reintroduce them to the wild.

    Polar Bear story… on one of my visits to Brookfield, I stood for a good half hour watching a young polar bear playing in its pool. The keepers had given it an empty beer keg, and it kept pushing the keg under the water and letting it go, like a kid would do with a beach ball. It was hilarious! That keg shot high into the air, came back down, and the bear pounced again. I wish I’d had a camera.

    The wolf story…. there’s something there that is being covered. I smell a lot of CYA going on. Tranq guns are loaded with a very fast-acting drug, and in the hands of a skilled shooter, could have dropped that wolf nearly as fast as a bullet. And the wolf would be around to growl the story. I suspect, as someone already said, that the officer who fired the shot did it out of fear rather than reason, and now a bunch of people are trying to gloss over and make excuses. That’s the worst part of this… that people want to cover and tell stories rather than just coming clean and saying, “this happened, it should not have, and we take full responsibility. We will take every measure to ensure that it doesn’t happen again” – because they can’t say for certain that a hole won’t open up.

    The big thing that really pisses me off about zoos? Stupid people. The ones that read the signs that say, “don’t feed” or “don’t climb”, then do the exact opposite and get attacked. And THEN turn around and insist that the “vicious animal” is unfit to be around humans and should be put down. B.S.!! That moron, mauled or not, is the one that is unfit to be around humans.

  7. avomnia says:

    I haven’t been to a zoo since I was a kid. I’ve been to Sea World and had the same thoughts regarding minimal spaces for creatures that are accustomed to large expanses to roam. I am glad there was an outcry about the shooting. It seems so needless to kill the animal when it was apparently mellow and not endangering anyone.

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