Originally published on 2019/10/30
There was something about seeing such a gigantic creature, who could crush you under his feet, walking slowly around a small enclosure that takes out the fun of going to the zoo.
That last phrase sounds weird to me, though, like a part of me thinks I should be guilty at having fun at the zoo.
Because I did. I did have fun at the zoo. I was excited to see the pandas, and I know the zoo and its staff are doing their best to take care of the pandas and save their species because they will not survive in the wild — on their own — at this point.
So, the pandas — understandable. But then the next animals I saw were the elephants. There were three of them, and my colleague at school had already told me about how small their space was, but I didn’t expect it to be that small.
Sure, they weren’t cramped for space, but they weren’t reveling in the beauty of nature either. At least there were three of them, I told myself. The first elephant given by India to Japan as a sign of peace and friendship back in 1949 was named Indira and she lived and died alone in a foreign country.
It’s true that zoos can do a lot of good for the animals. The people learn about them and develop appreciation for them. It’s how young kids develop the desire to be a vet, an environmentalist, a zoologist, and more.
Zoos can also provide sanctuary and rehabilitation for animals, but they have to provide more than food and lodging.
There was only one tiger in the zoo, and while a fleeting thrill did run up my spine at the sight of such a dangerous but beautiful creature, I wished there was no tiger at the zoo — nor lion, gorilla, bison, polar bear, sea lion, giraffe, okapi, hippo, or elephant.
No doubt I sound like such a killjoy and hypocrite, especially after I ran my phone ragged taking picture after picture of such creatures.
But it’s a simple and understandable desire — that such animals would be free to roam in the forest or the savanna, without fear of going extinct or being hunted by poachers.
So, prepare yourself for that strange feeling of sadness guilt mixed with thrill, awe, and fun when you go to the zoo.
The dino exhibit was grand, though. I learned a lot of paleontology in Japan, and I saw many holotypes of large dinosaur bones. It was exciting and humbling to see.
So, I would recommend going to the park, just don’t expect to see pandas up close because they’ll probably be sleeping when you drop by. No need to fear, though! There are plenty (I wasn’t even able to visit the other museums) of attractions and things to see at the park you’ll need to visit again and again to get enough of it.