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"Zoo Revolution" Film: Let the games begin!

Discussion in 'TV, Movies, Books about Zoos & Wildlife' started by Zooplantman, 3 Oct 2013.

  1. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member Premium Member

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  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    That is an interesting preview, with some great footage of the spectacular underwater polar bear tunnel at Detroit Zoo. I was trying to list off as many zoos as I could from the video, and it seems as if the documentary team traveled all across the world to visit a wonderful variety of zoos. Leipzig Zoo's Gondwanaland boat ride is even shown and that is only a couple of years old.
     
  3. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    Joining thread :)
     
  4. PAT

    PAT Well-Known Member

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    Zoos Victoria also made an appearance. Does anyone know if it will be available worldwide? I'm pretty used to finding other ways to watch these sorts of programs when the official site is only accessible in a certain country.
     
  5. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    In the future: No zoo for you! - The Globe and Mail

    Maybe defense of zoos lies in the fighting hands of the USA's Tea Party, Libertarians and the like!
     
  6. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    If you click the first hotlink (CBD - Doc Zone), the written text exposes a major fallacy in the argument of the anti zoo group. It states that the money spent on zoos would better be spent protecting the wild. The fallacy is that the money is freely available to be used for one or the other. Do they really think that the families who visit a zoo, if there are no zoos available, will suddenly take the 30 bucks they would have spent visiting the zoo and send it to a conservation organization instead? Of course not, they will spend it on another outing for the day (movies or mini golf or whatever). Also, most animal rights groups do very little (if anything) to support the wild themselves. They use their funds for media to spread their anti-zoo agenda and - in some cases - to help rescue domestic animals.
     
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  7. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Well-Known Member

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    The discussed documentary on YouTube:

     
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  8. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    The Tea Party is all about preserving government spending that benefits the kinds of people who join the Tea Party and eliminating the rest, the Libertarian Party is about ending almost all spending and regulations. Movement libertarians tend to be loathe to acknowledge externalities as a thing or inequality of opportunity and natural monopolies as problems.

    I think that the defense of zoos will fall to conservationists and hobbyists. Just as an alliance of hunters and birdwatchers got the MBTA passed, I think we need a new alliance of animal lovers who can counteract the animal rightist propaganda that the only way humans should enjoy animals is by watching them in the wild. If y'all haven't noticed yet, I'm a strong advocate of exploring alternative sources of conservation money, including hunting in the wild, breeding for pets, and breeding for hunting.

    This is partially because I think these programs can be effective, but it's also partially because I think we need to fight back against the animal rights groups, and this means changing the views of conservationists, who currently tend to argue that anything other than habitat preservation is an unfortunate stopgap. I think that global warming and widespread habitat destruction means that in a lot of cases we will never go back to the way things were, which doesn't mean we shouldn't try to preserve as much as we can through both in situ and ex situ programs.

    I've never understood the sympathy many people seem to have for the notion of "animal rights." Most people disagree with the animal rights agenda, yet are still sympathetic to the propaganda groups like HSUS and PETA. (I meet a lot of people who say "I don't like PETA's methods but I support animal rights," when what they really mean is they support animal welfare.)
     
  9. Giant Panda

    Giant Panda Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    You might find that allying with the hunting lobby costs more than it gains.

    Conservationists don't focus on habitats because they're being duped by animal rights activists. Instead, this reflects a trend towards valuing biodiversity for its contribution to ecosystem services, realizing that "the way things were" is often a fallacious ideal, admitting we have neither the resources nor the expertise to take a consistent species-by-species approach, recognizing that the two biggest threats (which you identify) require in situ solutions, and shifting our mindset from preserving the pattern to protecting the process. In fact, “compassionate conservation” aside, many in the field are as staunchly opposed to the animal rights agenda as ZooChatters. As @Arizona Docent alluded to, that feeling is often mutual.


    And to avoid going completely off-topic, thank you @Crowthorne for posting the link.
     
    Last edited: 1 Dec 2016
  10. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    What does allying with the hunting lobby cost?

    And I fully agree that preserving habitat is the best possible solution because you can preserve an entire ecosystem instead of one soecies. However for a variety of reasons it's often a non-starter in many areas of the globe. And for many species--particularly birds--the biggest threat is not habitat loss but either introduced predators or trapping for the local pet trade.

    Guides at zoos will still treat zoos as essentially a holding pen for biodiversity until animals can go back to their natural habitats. And while that may be the case for large and adaptable megafauna like tigers, there's a lot of smaller animals--things like frogs and pikas--which are very sensitive to changes in their habitats. A lot of New Zealand's native species will likely never again live anywhere except small areas carefully policed for predators.

    However the fact that we cannot necessarily reintroduce them to the wild in the foreseeable future does not mean that there is no reason to conserve them. And I feel like "we're preserving these animals so they can be reintroduced to the wild" argument devalues animals for which the only future may be ex situ conservation.

    One of the things that bugs me about a lot of conservation organizations is that they make it seem like conservation is and should be selfless activity. We try to conserve because A. we like seeing a wide variety of animals and plants, B. we like knowing that they're there, and C. we know that there is a lot we can learn from them that we haven't yet. It's a sensible position but it's not a selfless one. Meanwhile, I see many conservationists condemning hunting because hunters are killing an animal for their selfish pleasure, even while supporting ecotourism projects with a much bigger ecological footprint.
     
  11. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

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    So I watched the film. Aspinell is an obnoxiously clueless rich person. The Born Free guy is also an obnoxious rich person, but he's a lot less clueless than Aspinell seems to be and I liked his takedown of pandas, though I wish it had been someone who works in zoos doing it. The end segment in general was best; I really liked the Zoos Victoria woman explaining how much cheaper it is to save a small species than a large one.

    They had several zoo people who seemed skeptical of the idea of zoos, including one who said "in a perfect world zoos wouldn't exist." I've mentioned before that this is a sentiment I hear a lot from zookeepers which annoys me. Like Aspinell they get to work with these animals up-close-and-personal, but then they want to deny it to other people.

    One thing that occurs to me: nature centers which focus on native species (in Australia these may be breeding programs for endangered animals, in the US they keep mostly unreleasable animals), may do a better job of educating the public at at a better rate than traditional zoos. I wish we would see more of these, but the trend seems to be in the opposite direction, like the Texas Zoo going from a focus on Texas wildlife to becoming a generic, low-quality zoo.

    One other point where I think Born Free guy is half-right is his point about traveling to Egypt to see the pyramids or see the leaning tower of Pisa. I think that it's perfectly fine to have animals outside their natural habitat, but I don't think every zoo needs to have Bengal tigers, Borneo orangutangs, and "reticulated giraffes." I just started a thread today about how it seems like there's a very large number of large and expensive species that people expect to see at a "good" zoo. What I didn't state in that thread is that I think that's an unfortunate and unreasonable expectation.

    A better analogy might be art museums. Imagine if every art museum just had reproductions of "Mona Lisa" and "Starry Night" and "The Persistence of Memory" because that's what people expected to see. Come to that, I didn't see "The Persistence of Memory" at the Dali Museum, but rather than be disappointed that I didn't see Dali's most famous painting, I reveled in all of the other amazing art there.

    I really wish zoos would keep only a subset of the animals that people expect to see, and specialize. Design the zoo to give visitors the opportunity to learn about the animals they didn't come expecting to see, rather than designing the zoo around their expectations. However I have no idea whether such a zoo would be viable (I know that the first zoo to try this would draw a lot of visitor complaints).
     
  12. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    The only way I can see you changing what animals are popular at zoos is to have Hollywood and the media on your site.

    Consider the phenomenal impact that Lion King had - then Finding Nemo - Meerkat insurance - etc... Kids are the prime market for interest at the zoos as that feeds back to parents. Where that happens the media and TV shows/films are often a major source of inspiration for many children (and adults) on what is cool and neat to see. Thus they expect to see those things at the zoo when they go to visit.

    Consider how nearly everyone can identify a lion, but when it comes to leopard, cheetah, etc... they can sometimes get confused. Casual people have no, or few, major cheetah (cheetos probably the only thing) icons in life to be inspired by.


    And, of course, this problem gets worse for animals that are not already popular, since popular animals will likely drive what becomes popular in the media.



    Media is a powerful ally, but it can also backfire (all those clown fish dumped down toilets - heck all those super ninja terapin turtles too). There also is the lottery factor in that you don't know what will be a huge success before it hits the big screen so investments can backfire.

    I'm willing to bet that rabbits and foxes saw a huge pet rise after zootopia was released (even if foxes are not typical pets I'm sure the up-take went up as a result even if in that limited market area).






    Hunting - the problem here is mixed messages.
    I agree that properly regulated and controlled hunting can be beneficial to the ecological party. It creates (an often very profitable) market which makes financial use of the land whilst having near identical requirements for management as ecological interests (esp if the hunting is regulated by ecological needs/drivers/factors). Thus you can make land financially viable which is good for the land owners.
    It's almost an identical argument to wildlife tourism trips, which again turns the wildlife into a valuable resource which can then protect the land from development by making it a valued resource in itself.

    However hunting has to be properly regulated and here is the problem. Trophy hunting wants big impressive and generally your best individuals for the kill. A trophy hunter doesn't want the sick deer with the malformed antlers, he wants the 16 pointer with the impressive stance etc...
    Then you've the problem that the money can be too good. That its so lucrative that it becomes very hard to turn away hunters. This is clearly a problem in many poorer countries where the thousands that people will spend is a lifetimes in earnings for some. Against such pressures its very open to corruption.
    Finally there's an element of hunters who have no respect nor concept of wild stocks. They are not thinking of viable populations in 50 or a 100 years time they are thinking of their kill bag today. Often also steadfast in that old generation kill quotas must be maintained and increased (like money - we are in a time when most societies cannot shake the thinking that more is better). The best example of this would be poachers; but you've also got the fact that many who hunt have a limited view of the areas they hunt so the impacts that they have at the landscape scale are often hidden from them or something they are not worried about.



    Of course all that paints a pretty bleak picture, but there is a viable argument within there and a viable option to have hunting as part of conservation (heck straight conversationalists hunt and manage populations too). In fact I suspect it happens a little more than its let on because - the other and possibly biggest problem - image.

    Conservation has an image to the public and that image is very simple. ITs an image they work hard to maintain which can, at a glance, reflect their organisation without any reading or learning or study on the part of the casual public individual. Thus throwing hunting in there is a big complicating factor - people have preconceived ideas about conservation and about hunting and generally its that the two are polar opposites.

    Even if many might be swayed in discussion one has to consider the "mob" level of mentality for marketing. And there's the critical problem for trying to get hunting and conservation in the same bed openly.
    It doesn't help that many times that hunters come into the media is when they are shooting things they shouldn't have; it doesn't help that (UK side at least) hunting is often seen as "the upper classes and rich; it doesn't help that poaching (ergo hunting) is one of the biggest threats to many of the big African (ergo often the most wildlife most people are aware of) species.



    Personally I think there is a potential future; but its a hard one to forge and requires changing attitudes on many levels as well as changing preconceptions about what certain things will and should entail. Hunters have to change how hunting is seen and also change how it operates and rewards in practice; conservation would have to spend a fortune educating people to a point where they can accept killing and management of wildlife that involves killing (see that change of word from hunting to killing because that's another preconception - change the word and the associated thinking that goes with it changes in people as well - you might convince many that hunting is ok but then if someone throws killing in you're back to square one)
     
  13. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Durrell used this phrase - or one with the same sentiment - a few times in his books, his films, and in interviews. It stems from the fact that his zoo was designed to breed endangered species and put them back into the wild. Originally he only wanted endangered species in his zoo. And his dream was for a time when there was no need for his zoo to exist because there were no more endangered or threatened species.

    I suspect that his words have been bandied about in a slightly different context by many since then, but the sentiment is the same. It's not because zoo people wish to deny anyone the experiences they've had.

    :p

    Hix
     
  14. Giant Panda

    Giant Panda Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    As @overread more comprehensively elucidates, the base of conservation support is “animal lovers”, many of whom are appalled by trophy hunting. And, whilst there are instances of hunting providing the impetus/funds to protect threatened species, there are also cases where low-level, well-regulated hunting has been unsustainable. See WildCRU’s recent work on lions, for example.

    Regardless of where you stand on the issue, any zoo that sent animals to hunting ranches would face a major backlash. However good the reasons, they don’t make it into the soundbite (“Zoo Kills Giraffe and Dissects it in Front of Vistors!?” :eek:).

    Example of how it’s a non-starter? And reason we shouldn’t cut our losses and work elsewhere?

    Actually, habitat alteration is the greatest threat to birds (https://www.researchgate.net/profil...ertebrates/links/573d7d6e08ae9f741b2f5f5f.pdf). More importantly, though, your avian focus reflects our “institutional vertebratism”, itself an impediment to conserving biodiversity, which is overwhelmingly invertebrate. Habitat conservation is an imperfect means of shifting the balance, but is the only viable method (at least in more diverse/less wealthy countries).

    Adaptability is not size-dependent. Ex situ conservation would be most effective if it focused on smaller taxa (eg. amphibians) which can be kept in viable numbers at low expense. Sadly, I think most zoos have embraced the conservation narrative more effectively than conservation itself.

    It comes down to values and what you believe in conserving. You’re arguing we should attempt to distil nature into units and maintain those artificially. I contend that the only conservation-based justification for doing so is aesthetic – we want to see certain species – which is a poor use of resources and relies on a static (pattern-based) view of nature.

    I take a process-based approach. I believe your opinion is tantamount to preserving the frame and discarding the film reel. I believe we should take a holistic view, protect ecosystems, their functions, and services, rather than focus on any one component. And I believe that, given limited resources, this is the best way to ensure the most species persist. This is also why I get frustrated with the conservation standpoint of zoos (and ZooChatters), which tends to be single-species.

    As an aside, I recognize this is academic to some degree. Conservation goes where the money is. However, I think it’s important to at least try shifting public perceptions about what’s at stake and what we should value.

    As my previous post indicated, there has been extensive academic debate over traditional biocentric motives for conservation versus the more recent anthropocentric view. Given the length of this post, I’ll direct anyone interested to some lively papers [1,2] and rebuttals [3,4].

    [1] Conservation in the Anthropocene -- Beyond Solitude and Fragility
    [2] What Is Conservation Science?
    [3] The “New Conservation”
    [4] http://klamathconservation.org/docs/blogdocs/doaketal2013.pdf

    The consensus is something of a compromise: human value is a useful justification for conservation action, but we should not disregard intrinsic worth.

    Durrell is a personal hero, but I do wish (zoo) people would stop using this grating platitude. The assumption is that either conservation is the only possible benefit a zoo can have, or there is something inherently wrong with keeping animals in captivity. No-one really believes the former, whilst the latter raises deep, unanswered, and (to my mind) unfounded ethical issues. I therefore suggest a clunkier alternative: in a perfect world, zoo animals would have measurably better welfare than their wild conspecifics. Or perhaps that’s an uncomfortably obtainable goal?


    EDIT: Having just discovered the new thread Zygodactyl began on this topic, I’ve reposted the relevant parts of my response there: The purpose of conservation and the giant chip on my shoulder.
     
    Last edited: 1 Dec 2016