The recent tragic shooting of an enclosed gorilla precipitates musings on the value of zoos.
As a child I was very fond of the writings of Gerald Durrell
. In standard six, we all enjoyed his most famous book, My Family and other Animals
, as setwork. Most of his books were of the comedy-adventure type describing his many excursions aimed at collecting animals. He also made a number of documentaries for TV. Durrell held that zoos have an important role to play in conservation, and given my reverence for the man, I accepted this viewpoint for a very long time.
Now, not so sure. Why, for instance, are we keeping animals that are not
endangered, and at what point are we just keeping the critters to gawk at for entertainment? Is there really a net value in zoos the way they are operated?