In the two weeks prior to the launch of CuddleCare PSS, I spent some quality family time on the Gold Coast. As we had a twenty something visitor from the UK along for the ride we felt it necessary to hit all the theme parks and fit in as much as we could for his entertainment. I am telling you this because, not surprisingly, a lot of what I found the most enjoyable from everything we had crammed in was the animal encounters and experiences.
Whilst everyone else was riding high on giant drops or spinning around on some crazy ride, I was sidling off to take a second or third look at the gorgeous Australian animals at Dreamworld and Sea World or on another day even the exotic African animals at Australia Zoo. These encounters were much more interesting and fulfilling to me than any scary, pulse racing Storm Coaster or Tail spin ride even though the family were as entranced as me and oohh'd and ahhh'd in their first encounter, the draw of the thrill rides drew them back, leaving me to watch the animals antics enthralled for a bit longer. From snakes and Tasmanian Devils to Polar Bears and Manta Rays, it is apparent that I love all animals.
I find myself in a difficult and heart retching dilemma then when I consider the role of zoos today and if I should be enjoying viewing animals this way. We are all aware of the good work that Sea World and Australia Zoo do in the fields of conservation and education but can that work be done without the showcase of zoos? Obviously Sea World rescue injured animals and home them until recovery aiming to release them back into the wild and that is great and their dolphin show is much toned down nowadays- no hoops to jump through or balls to toss around but can't Australia zoo help rhinos or Cheetahs that are on the endangered list any other way than housing them here for us to gawp at? It is good in a way that people can visit zoos, see the animals close up and possibly build a connection with them that they may not have done otherwise, go home and donate to the cause with their raised awareness but whilst I enjoy looking at them, I can't help but feel a sense of guilt that it is this way for them. So, I ponder the thought, do we really need zoos today or can all the good work be carried out without the captivity of these gorgeous animals?
Steve Irwin did not initially establish Australia Zoo but he loved it and built on what his parents had created so I will come to the conclusion because of the huge respect I have for him and how he created an animal-awareness in all of us like no one before him, that zoos do, in fact, have a place in today's world. He loved all animals in their natural habitats but also must have seen a relevance to keep them on foreign soil as well so I too will say cheers to Aussie Zoos and put my feelings of guilt aside and continue to support them.
I can honestly say that my two weeks on the Goldie with my family was awesome but the highlights came from the looks on my grandchildren's faces when they came up close and personal with aussie wildlife. Looking to the future then, we must all support the incredible work that goes on behind the scenes of zoos, even if the idea of animals in captivity doesn't sit quite right with us :)