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Transparency in Deaths

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by JVM, 14 Jun 2016.

  1. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

    1 Nov 2013
    Chicago, USA
    How should zoos handle the deaths of their animals? Do announcements to the public draw too much attention and make zoos look negative, or do they create transparency and build a better relationship with the public?

    Pretty much an open question I'm curious for opinions on.

    I've thought of, for example, how Lincoln Park Zoo had a few publicized elephant deaths due to tuberculosis that created a perception of poor zookeeping in the press, whereas at other zoos, like Milwaukee County, there is total ambiguity over the status of some animals which may or may not be deceased.
  2. zoomaniac

    zoomaniac Well-Known Member

    17 Apr 2009
    Schwerzenbach, ZH, Switze
    Very simple: In an offensive way. The death belongs to life.
    It's a question of communication. But zoos nowadays have (or should have) experts in this sector that are able to explain the public the circumstances and to fend attacs of animal rights activists (which always come from those "people" as the amen in a church) at the same time (If not, then they have hired the wrong people).
  3. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    8 Sep 2007
    South Devon
    Zoos should be transparent about these sort of issues and I think it is absolutely right for a zoo to publish its full figures for holdings, births and deaths each year.
    However that doesn't mean that every death should be announced shortly after it happens. Of course it's impossible to hide the death of a large popular creature such as an elephant or a gorilla. I would suggest that, as a general guide, if the animal's name is shown on the exhibit's label then the zoo should announce its death or indeed an explanation if it is not on show for another reason (medical treatment, transfer etc).
    Of course it would not be practical to do this for every individual fish in the Aquarium or even for every zebra finch or meerkat.