Here’s the thing, I’d never visited the Greater Vancouver Zoo before this visit. It’s not that I avoided going for some big important reason, I just haven’t gone. When I was a kid I went to the zoo in Toronto which is an inner city type zoo with tiny enclosures made of concrete (or at least it was in the 80’s). I remember thinking it was pretty cool, I even got to ride a camel. Times have changed and the general consensus is that Zoos and Aquariums are bad. The Aquarium is a tough one, the monkeys and other animals in the Amazon area look pretty miserable in their tiny cages and the belugas, dolphins, and penguins shouldn’t be there either. Aside from that I’m cool with the aquarium and the work they do.
The zoo is not the same at all. Most of the animals are not suited to our climate and giving them large areas to roam around doesn’t change that fact. When I say “large areas” I am being very generous. Most farm animals (except cage raised chickens and bubble raised veal…) have more land to call home than these animals. Then there are the Squirrel Monkeys seen above. They have a 20’x20′ cage (estimated) and a small hut for a bunch of them to call home. It’s a pretty sad scene.
I made light of it on Instagram, giving all of these animals local sounding names and sarcastic back stories but the truth is it all made me very uncomfortable. To see Zebras, Giraffes, and Hippos confined by wire fences thousands of miles away from their natural environments is weird and feels wrong.
Here’s some more pictures of sad animals in captivity.