Rina J. Indiana

The Truth Behind Zoos

A plea to help the animals live a better life in the zoo.

Dear Future President,

10 years ago, I was a naïve, observant child who found almost anything as fascinating as any other kid. Climbing trees, scribbling on walls with lipstick, and throwing belongings from a four feet building were in fact some of my favorite activities, but what I loved most and the one thing that kept me calm and collected were animals. Zoos can be considered as my secret hideout and home. School field trips often took place in such areas. As a little girl, the appearance of different animals grasped my attention and my interest. As a little girl, animals just seemed like friendly creatures whom I wanted to befriend. As a little girl, I never thought my understanding of their existence would change to what it consists of today.

As time goes by, my perspective changes and I began to wonder the reason behind zoos. Zoos have evolved from being solely for entertainment to organizations that promote conservation. Recently, a controversy was sparked all through media over a 17-year-old silverback gorilla named Harambe and a three-year-old child. It has been reported that curiosity killed the gorilla as the wildness in the child caused him to climb over and fall into the gorilla’s habitat. Although opinions vary, the result ended with the death of Harambe in order to save the child. The global interest has become a good source of advocating and heightening awareness about the nature and its relationships. Standing between two sides, I see both points of views. One being the fear and terror felt by the mother and the audience as they watch their own species fall into danger. The other being the startling of emotions as an unfamiliar creature trespass on your property in which you call home. The real question is who is to blame? Maybe if the child wasn’t a rowdy wildcat the problem would be solved or maybe if gorillas were replaced by less aggressive animals. The problem is within the maybes. The uncertainty increases the level of insecurity and a definite emotion should be felt by all the people. It is a sad story to cover but I believe the people are all mourning for the loss but on the bright side, this situation has awakened many to reform regulations.

Zoos have warped the understanding of these beings whom should be appreciated and perpetuate the notion that they are here for our purposes. The only solution to prevent such happenings starts at stronger barriers and stricter regulations at zoos. Many blame the mother for the negligence of her child while others felt strongly against the existence of such aggressive behavior within the gorilla. Although I believe all are at fault for this tragic incident, there is absolutely no logic in eliminating all the species of animals because of their natural behavior. Destroying their generations and habitat is definitely not a logical way for it is considered animal genocide. Creating stress on the mother of the child may increase awareness but logically thinking about this, if guests are arriving, would you let uncontrollable dogs that may have a possibility of biting strangers out to roam around? The visitors have paid for the educational or recreational experience. The zoos have to acknowledge the safety issues that reach many peoples’ concerns. The international controversy should allow the zoos to strengthen security and live up to their responsibilities. Failure in safety has been a concern in many different areas throughout history. Harambe should not be forgotten. He is the symbol for reform and his tragic life expedition should be employed at its greatest whether it is in hands of safety rights or responsibilities. In honor of Harambe, voices have been made. All that’s left is the motivation for changes and that shouldn’t be ignored.