Zoo animals deserve to live free in the wild

If it’s true, as Gerry Rising wrote in his Nature Watch column recently, that zoo employees “love” their animals, then I can’t help feeling sorry for them. Of course, their definition of “love” and mine could be very different.

If they love the gorillas, I can’t imagine how they can stand to come to work every day and watch such intelligent creatures live in that artificial habitat, unable to feel greenery under their feet or rain on their faces. I wonder if they feel as sad as I do when they see a young gorilla staring from behind glass barriers at the lucky human children who are free to leave the confines of the zoo when bored.

How can zoo employees tolerate watching the bears pace day after day in their barren, concrete prisons? I was saddened when I witnessed the giraffe gnawing on the partitions of its inadequate “home” and watched wolves constantly walking back and forth in their tiny cage. I can’t forget the alligator forced to endure a little watery hole surrounded by fake scenery painted on the walls of a small enclosure.

Do the zookeepers ever consider that the big cats are mere shadows of their wild relatives? The cats sit there, hardly moving, or pace back and forth in their small habitats. I wonder if, like me, they ever regret that the tigers are deprived of roaming many miles during the night in search of prey, of hiding in vegetation or swimming like wild tigers do.

Zoo employees get to leave and go to a home of their choice while the zoo animals are left behind, locked in their prison-like world.

Valerie Will

Orchard Park