Over the last few days our family enjoyed a weekend getaway that included a visit to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium… and after already spending so much time at “our” zoo (the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo) and almost taking the animals for granted, I was again reminded that zoos are truly a treasure.
First, let me say that anyone who knows me knows that I detest circuses. It breaks my heart to think about those poor animals being carted around the country, being confined and/or shackled, and then being forced to practice and perform for countless hours a day. This is NOT the way to treat earth’s creatures. Animals should not be forced to perform, and I’m especially moved by the heartbreaking circus-life of my beloved elephants!… it’s no wonder we hear periodic stories about one of them going berserk and trampling a trainer. I would be angry too! And as a result, I will never, ever support an animal circus. (Please, the next time an animal circus comes to town, reconsider giving them your support and money.)
I used to feel a bit uneasy about zoos too, but I’ve since realized that legitimate zoos are really a blessing in that they allow us to educate ourselves, and see and experience amazing wildlife in ways that we would otherwise never know. It’s also a sad reminder of how fragile their lives are when, this weekend, we noticed the scales that showed us each animal’s threat of extinction… there were far too many near the “danger” end of the scale.
I’m sharing these stories because I’m asking you to support zoos. There are 218 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums in the US. All are dedicated to excellence in animal care and welfare, conservation, education, and research that collectively inspire respect for animals and nature. I think we need to feel grateful… so…
… visit a zoo, donate to or become a member of a zoo, or buy a zoo membership for a gift, and you will have a hand in making a difference. The animals have given so much, now it’s time to pay it forward to the animals… and say thanks!
(… and if you ever questioned whether animals really have a heart and soul, take a few moments to watch this… and just try NOT to smile!)