Jan 16, 2011

Wild animals captive in a world apart-no way to live.

Conversation came up again about why I changed my opinion from wanting to swim with dolphins to becoming an advocate for doing away with tourist-based dolphin programs.
For one reason, I watched The Cove, an extremely radical movie about how we treat dolphins in general. It broke my heart to hear Ric O’Barry’s account of how Flipper died.

Also as I learn more about animal behavior I believe it is simply inhumane to think that wildlife can be happy removed from the wild. Not to mention the wild capture of animals has depleted the populations around the world. Look at the tropical bird trade and what it has done to decimate parrot populations in the wild. With jungle habitat being destroyed and then nests being preyed upon to sell chicks for export, it is no wonder wild populations are threatened. Sadly I witnessed this in Southern Mexico where birds and animals are still poached for a very robust market in exotic wildlife.

The argument I hear is that it is okay if wild animals are born in captivity, then they are domesticated. Some one gave the examples of dogs. Good, let’s consider the difference with the domestication of the dog.

From the work of Ray Coppinger, we know that domestic dogs most likely did not result from cave men and women rearing wolf pups that morphed into domesticated dogs.
In fact, anyone who has even a wolf hybrid dog today realizes that a wolf can never be “domesticated” even if reared as a pup.
What most likely occurred is that domestication happened very slowly through self- selection. In other words, wolves domesticated themselves, so to speak. Wolves that were less skittish around human populations scoured garbage heaps near early villages. These animals survived and raised their pups in the same environment. Over time, nature selected for wolves that were adapted to being around humans. Perhaps then the pups of these wolves were raised in captivity, but the entire process took thousands of years.

I love animals. I am so saddened when I hear of trainers killed in zoos are Theme Parks with wild animals like dolphins and animals. I get that it is through zoo’s that public awareness can be made of disappearing habitat, etc. However, in this day and age, I think I prefer the idea of the virtual zoo. Cabella’s and Bass Pro have their exhibits of stuffed animals. Why don’t we create jobs and teach people to create artificial stuffed animals for display? Why do we have to keep wild animals in cages for tourists?
Just a thought. Time to reform how the public sees wild life. Let’s create virtual 3D zoos or ones that are like Madame Tussauds wax museum.

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