Yesterday, Dan and I went to London Zoo – I haven’t been for a while, and despite my confused feelings about them (I dislike seeing animals caged, no matter how elaborate their environment), I think London Zoo is one of the better ones in terms of conservation and education projects. Dan was excited about seeing the new tiger cubs – but we were a little disappointed to find out we hadn’t read the small print (Mother Tiger and cubs were enjoying seclusion together, just as it should be really!). We had a lovely time though, and even if it raises questions about the ambivalence of zoos in general, I think for the most part London Zoo has got the balance right.
I’ve always felt that we have a duty of care towards the creatures we share the planet with – humans encroaching on environments, poaching and ignorance have led to the extinction of some beautiful creatures. Tigers in particular have already become extinct in some parts of the world and conservation projects like this are important. I did find I wasn’t sure how some of the animals coped with the stress of having humans, particularly loud, disrespectful humans, making a lot of noise and not being aware of (or not caring) how they were behaving in front of these animals. It does sometimes make me wonder how we can move back from the precipice as a race – when will we wake up to the effect we’re having on the planet and other animals? When will corporations and governments actually do something about it?
‘Tyger Tyger, burning bright,In the forests of the night;What immortal hand or eye,Could frame thy fearful symmetry?’– William Blake.