Ecoclub Member Blogs
From zoos to environmental education & ecotourism centres
Bashing villains (soft, anonymous, targets not, say, a powerful hotel developer!), real and perceived (all-
Thus, the right path for quality zoos to is to accelerate their transition to zoological & environmental education centres for the benefit of the new generations of urban children while continuing to generate much-needed funding and expertise for conservation. Modern technology already offers, and will offer far more, exciting alternatives to a caged animal displays: 3D interactive displays, holograms, real-time waterhole cams, tracking collars. Zoos can focus on reproducing and reintroducing highly endangered animals and tracking and displaying real-time, released animal progress in the wild, treating hurt wildlife, campaigning against recreational hunting and animal abuse and teaching children how to respect and be responsible pet owners. There is also space for botanical gardens, for organic agriculture and permaculture exhibits (and courses) as well as for educational arcades (edutainment) and ecotravel booking centres. Each Zoo should adopt one or more specific protected areas in the global south and benefit neigbouring local communities through ecotourism promotion and capacity building, set up cultural exchange programs, and appropriate infrastructure. Thus a realistic proposition is: existing zoos should commit to not replacing any, non-endangered, wild animal that dies with another one and to use the empty space for alternative educational and fun uses as above. At the same time, legislation should change drastically and no new old-style zoos should be licensed, at least in countries that pride themselves about their environmental and animal abuse legislation. But I believe quality, zoological & environmental education centres have a new role to play in the 21st century and the solution involves engaging with them, rather than just not promoting them or ignoring them.
Oh, and if you do eat meat but express outrage about animals in cages, please consider the irony (and stop eating meat!)