- On July 10, 2017
In a recent editorial piece in The Seattle Times, two advocates made the case for conversion of the Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) in Seattle, Washington to a sanctuary for rescued indigenous wildlife and exotic animals.
The impetus for the piece by Alyne Fortgang and Lisa Kane was the recent birth of a giraffe at the Woodland Park Zoo. The authors point out that despite a giraffe’s natural home range of up to 250 square miles, the WPZ’s new addition will spend her lifetime on exhibit in a tiny display.
Giraffes in the wild enjoy a dynamic social life as members of a large herd along with the freedom to run unfettered at a high rate of speed in any direction whenever the mood strikes. Sadly, this is not an option for giraffes confined to a zoo. Wayne Pacelle is quoted on this point in the article: “Wild animals, even if they’re born in captivity, retain all their natural instincts.”
The authors advocate for a revised business model for the WPZ in particular, and zoos in general. Ostensibly, the core mission of zoos, as is often promoted, is the preservation of wildlife, however, despite decades and billions of dollars of investment, endangered wildlife populations continue to decline at an alarming rate.
Instead, a new model—quite similar to ones proposed by Wayne Pacelle in The Humane Economy—would be to end captive breeding in zoos and convert them to sanctuaries for both rescued local wildlife unable to return to the wild and exotic animals saved from inhumane conditions from roadside zoos or kept as backyard pets.
Victories achieved by the efforts of The HSUS in the retirement of SeaWorld’s orca act and captive breeding program along with the retirement of Ringling Bros’ elephant act prior to ceasing operations all together in early 2017 are evidence that migration to more humane business models can be beneficial to all concerned in the way of businesses, the public, and animals.
Read the full article on TheSeattleTimes.com.