Miss Gioia

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Zoo Horror

In an attempt to alleviate the great boredom which comes from days upon days in a hotel room, we decided to go to the Guangzhou zoo yesterday. We bundled up, figured out how to get there using the subway and walking, and set off.

We made it to the zoo in high spirits, but the atmosphere quickly turned sour. Do you see the elephant in the picture below? Are you wondering why his trunk is reaching over the wall? Yeah, we were curious too...

He was reaching over the wall because the crowd of people were chucking items into the enclosure. Yes, they were all throwing food and other stuff at the elephant, who was busy picking up and eating whatever was tossed. Around the corner, a large bull elephant was standing near the fence. Every few minutes, he would get pelted in the head with an orange or something similarly round and hard. PELTED IN THE HEAD.

The animal areas were littered with trash, and most of it was plastic items that could cause sickness or death for the inhabitants. We saw a miniature deer chewing on a candy wrapper. And here you can see people ripping up shrubbery and tossing long leaves to the camels.

Besides that, we saw a very sickly kangaroo and a monkey with a tumor on his bottom that was larger than his head. We also saw a lost four year old girl wandering around the park screaming for her mommy. And no one cared. Not a single person looked down at her to see what was wrong. We stood by looking helpless until finally a park lady came and took her by the hand.

We are zoo people, so this was quite disheartening. Chris did research at a zoo in college, studying lemurs. So we always visit zoos when we travel, and this was by far the worst one. At the zoo in Bangalore, for example, everyone was incredibly respectful of the animals. And it was clean and orderly. The animals' habitats were not as fancy as some western zoos, but they were doing the best with what they had. In Guangzhou, though, it was a different thing entirely.

As Chris said when we were leaving, how could you stand to be a zookeeper and watch people treat your animals that poorly?

More pictures are here.



Blogger Amy in Beijing said...

Our zoo here could be a death trap for an active small child - but the animals sort of looked ok. People were feeding some animals - you could pay to feed to elephants sugar cane - which we did. And some people had brought bags of greens to feed deer. So KL zoo seems ok by comparison to GZ!

February 9, 2008 12:17 PM  
Anonymous AmericanFamily said...

I read this article which made me convinced I will NEVER go to a zoo in China. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=506153&in_page_id=1811

February 10, 2008 12:22 PM  
Blogger In case you wondered said...

From my sister about the Doha zoo: "We went to the zoo yesterday and it was unbelievable. Partly the zoo's fault, but it's run by the locals. Everyone was feeding the animals whatever they had in their hands...popcorn, plastic bags, candy. Banging on the cages, screaming at the animals and sticking their fingers in any opening possible. I wish I was quick enough to video the lady playing keep away with an ostrich, WITH HER OWN FINGER!! P asked what I thought was going to happen, I was hoping she lost more than one. No such luck."
Another one to avoid.

February 11, 2008 8:43 AM  

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