“Do the zoo” and pay it forward.

martika-joOver 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 pTiger Escapesractice 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.gorilla

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!)

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5 thoughts on ““Do the zoo” and pay it forward.

  1. Doreen – loved this post. I also abhor the circus and feel for the lives of those poor tortured souls. I agree with you about supporting most zoos. They are wonderful opportunities to experience so many creatures close up that we may otherwise never get to see. Thanks for the link to the accredited zoos. I’m def. going to tweet this post. I hope others will reconsider when the circus comes to their town and support an accredited zoo instead!

  2. Deborah – I’m so happy you feel the same… now if only more families felt the same. I don’t find performing animal entertainment, at all! If people just stopped and realized how unnatural it is, maybe they would reconsider. My heart breaks every time the circus is in town and I see news footage of those amazing elephants being paraded through the downtown Cleveland streets. Zoos really concentrate on respecting animals and working toward goals to help wildlife, and while they aren’t free and live in captivity, they are so well cared for and that’s what matters to me. Thanks for the kudos and please, share the information! 🙂

  3. I don’t like circus either. Zoo are a blessing! Think of all the animals that we would be at an even bigger risk of losing. It breaks my heart that some people are still against zoos. PETA even had people poison some tigers at a animal rescue near me. They also threw things at people going to visit the rescue. These animals are in small pens until they raise the money to get them in bigger ones. But these are animals even zoos won’t take. They are rescued from people who tried to have them as pets. Some are missing limbs and such.

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  5. I agree Lisa, the circus is just cruel. I love the idea of a zoo at it shows the animals in their true environment and shows their true behavior plus it also keeps the endangered ones from becoming extinc.

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