The birth of a gorilla at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo is hardly a cause for celebration.
This baby animal has been born into a life of imprisonment as a living display.
Zoo breeding programs give the public a false sense that something meaningful is happening to save animals, when in reality they serve no conservation purpose because animals born in zoos are rarely, if ever, returned to their natural habitats.
In fact, Taronga took elephants from Thailand to put on display at the zoo. The physical and mental stress of constant captivity and the loss of all freedom, including when and what to eat and what to do, leads these animals to display abnormal, neurotic and even self-destructive behaviour, such as self-mutilation.
With today’s incredible technology, virtual field trips, IMAX movies, and wildlife documentaries are a far better way to teach children about the wonders of the animal kingdom than visiting depressed animals held in captivity.
We urge everyone who genuinely cares about gorillas and all the other animals serving life sentences in zoos to recognise these institutions for what they are – prisons with living exhibits.
Let’s refuse to patronise them and instead donate to campaigns that actually protect animals in their native habitats.
Jason Baker, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia