Diane and I spent a majority of yesterday afternoon at Brookfield Zoo.
We're animal lovers. And we're zoo fans. And we're meat eaters. Oh, and I like leather, Diane likes fur. By the way, we've adopted every animal in our house from shelters, keeping them from death and giving them a life. Basically, we're PETA's worst nightmare.
So I'm at the zoo, and kept seeing this recurring theme:
The polar bear, casually floating in it's pool, lives, like all the animals, in a shelter designed to look and feel much like what they'd live in in the wild. While floating in that pool, he was gleefully putting on a show, playing with all of the huge rubber balls, the pony keg, the huge plastic containers of all shapes and sizes, all toys to him.
Down at the fox exhibit, we walked by a sign and a window that said "Interior of fox den. If you don't see the animals here, check the rock formation high up on the right side, they like to hide there." I walked forward to the outside view of the exhibit. Where were the foxes? Not high up on the right side, but instead all huddled together, sleeping, in...a plastic tray.
The dolphins shot beach balls into the crowd with their tails to simulate the "slapping" maneuver they use to stun their ocean prey, and one gigantic male dolphin lept 17 feet out of the water to touch a rubber ball hanging from the ceiling to exhibit his leaping power.
Everywhere we went, this was happening. Animals living in habitats designed to be "as much like their home as possible", probably to appease PETA in some cases, were all taking advantage of plastic products...man made...to assist their day. From sleeping to playing to eating to grooming to showing off.
It just struck me as ironic.
And support whatever zoo you can that is trying to help educate our children with up close and sometimes hands-on displays of the earth's wildlife.