Time to shut down zoos

In a blessed move towards freedom, a pair of two-year-old cheetahs, Saba and Nairo, have been earmarked for departure from the Howletts Wild Animal Park, in Kent, UK and flown to South Africa to new beginnings in the wild.

Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve, their new home is shared with numerous endangered species that have been successfully rehabilitated.

MSN reports that :

It will be the first time that cheetahs born in captivity have left the UK for rewilding in Africa, says Damian Aspinall, who runs Howletts.

“There are only about 7,000 cheetahs left on the planet and they are listed as vulnerable,” he says.  “This reintroduction – to a reserve in Mount Camdeboo, in south of the country – is important because it will help to support the small population of cheetahs we have left in the wild.” And the process of releasing animals from his wildlife parks is likely to continue unabated, adds Aspinall.

He now campaigns vigorously for a sharp acceleration in the return of all captive animals to the wild and, ultimately, the closure of all zoos and wildlife parks in the UK – including his own.

“We have no moral right as a species to let animals suffer just because we are curious about them,” he says. The day of the zoo is over, he claims – and his views are reflected by other critics who view wildlife parks and animal collections as anachronisms that should be phased out of existence over the coming 25 years.

However, this should have been done a long time ago. As it is, there are zoos that have neglected animals under the guise of species preservation and protection. Animals, lost and taken from their natural habitats to captivity, afraid, alone and on display in a cage? Unacceptable.

Our popular Mitchell Park Zoo where animals thrived and families bonded, has been under the spotlight for neglect and harm. Much ado has been made by residents and the media alerted. However, by the time the “powers that be” get off their butts and actually do something, workers strike, memes float, politicians jump on the bandwagon (voting season is just around the corner), animals and birds will die.

Neglect and harm, especially to those that are unable to be speak for themselves, must cease. Voices must be created and heard. No doubt there are such cases worldwide, but here, now, we must speak for the victims and petition for zoos to close.

Main image Credit : The Guardian Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA