Recently I had some friends visiting Singapore and they wanted to go to the zoo, inviting me to join the trip. For the sake of getting to hang out with my friends, I accepted and went along, although the thought of seeing caged animals disturbed me.
Singapore zoo as one can expect, is a well-kept one, clean and seemingly very organized. Still, it’s a zoo. It’s a place where humans are keeping captured animals locked up in a small area, far apart from their natural habitat.
Now, I know that zoos have important responsibilities, such as research and education, occasionally even giving a home for rescued animals which wouldn’t necessarily survive in the wilderness anymore. I’m not undermining the importance of any of this and I’m not accusing the Singapore zoo specifically of any misconduct.
But seeing animals in a zoo makes me sad. An elephant, on a small field, shifting its weight from one leg to another for lacking anything better to do. Doomed to boredom and solitude. Two lions, sleeping in shadows in front of curious people behind a window. Beautiful birds trapped in a cage forever hindered from flying free. Zoos are full of sad stories, destined to unhappy endings.