While there are zoos, as I pointed out in my last post, doing a great job in conservation work and the humane treatment of animals, this is not at all the reality for many captive zoo animals around the world.
I want to bring your attention to the EU Zoo Enquiry 2011. This investigation is part of an extensive EU-wide project that involves 21 EU countries and a total of 200 zoos. The investigations took place over the past 2 years and Born Free are busy with the reports.
This Inquiry was initiated, fully funded and executed by the international wildlife NGO, the Born Free Foundation, in association with the European coalition ENDCAP. It is an independent study, about which the European Commission is aware and is showing interest. The aim of The EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 is to evaluate the implementation and enforcement of the EC Directive 1999/22 (relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos), A report will be written on the state of zoos in each of the 21 nations.
Romania – Investigators witnessed two brown bears covered in filth, their fur heavily matted, pressing their faces against corroded wire and chew repeatedly on the bars. Only young, their spirits already appear crushed, their eyes full of sorrow.
Cyprus – An African grey parrot was observed standing alone on a concrete floor, caked in faeces. One of her eyes appears wounded and untreated, oozing with brown fluid.
Austria – An Asian elephant, which would normally be part of an extended family group, is housed alone, bobbing and swaying from side to side.
I will do an individual post in the near future about the NGO the Born Free Foundation, but I want to send you to a page on their site giving an overview of this report. It speaks of 5 million animals languishing in at least 4000 zoos, in conditions that fall tragically short of even the most basic standards. Be warned there are some tragic photos on this page of information and there is a further gallery of photos from each nation here. If you peruse their website further you will discover a number of success stories of animals rescued from appalling zoo conditions and rehomed in various wildlife centers.
There is a petition that can be signed online to the Commissioner for the Environment, urging him to study Born Fee’s EU Zoo Inquiry 2011 reports and take action for the animals.
Please do not think your nation is exempt. I know my nation and the one in which I live do not have a spotless zoo record.
I want to end on a lighter note by recommending a fun book for young children on zoos called “Zoo Do’s and Don’ts” by Todd Parr. With vivid, brightly coloured childlike illustrations Parr presents twelve pairs of Do’s and Don’t for having fun with the animals at the zoo such as “Do take a nap with a hippo.” “But don’t let him steal the covers. This is a fun, lighthearted book for the 2-6 year olds.(Book number 27 in the Read To me Picture Book Challenge)