Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wild Animals

I think that I've mentioned once before that there is a bit of brouhaha going on with the romance author Cassie Edwards. The blog Smart Bitches who Love Trashy Novels broke this and has been following it as it evolves. But this post isn't about plagiarism, it's about wild animals.

See, one of the articles plagiarized was about black footed ferrets (no the book was not titled Hot Ferret Sex). The folks that published the article are The Defenders of Wildlife. Because we romance readers do love our cute furry critters, Nora Roberts stepped forward to offer a match for donations made by readers of the Smart Bitches website, up to a total of $5000.

If you love animals and want to contribute to an organization that is concerned with the diversity of animal life on the planet, head over there to make a donation...and then go over to the Smart Bitches website to find out how to double your donation with the match. It's easy, really.

On to less happy wild animal news. I've become somewhat obsessed by the tragedy at the SF Zoo on Christmas Day.

For those of you who may have just reappeared from the deepest reaches of the Antarctic and may not be aware, a Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure on Christmas Day at the SF Zoo, killing one teen and injuring 2 adults. All three had gone to the zoo together and there is some suspicion that they (or some of them) had been taunting the animal. The animal was killed to save the 2 adults who survived.

What's amazing to me is how incredibly rare something like this is. Zoo escapes are rare, and there has never been a fatality of a visitor from an escaped animal before. It is so strange that it seems hard to believe that it was this random event. It makes me think a bit about Timothy Treadwell, who ended up being devoured by a bear partly because he didn't have enough perspective to realize that you should get too close to these critters.

I'm not sure, sometimes, whether to be in favor or zoos, even though I have a membership at the Oakland Zoo. We cage the animals, but often they are animals that are already somewhat acclimated to people and that could get them into greater trouble in the wild, if they were released. Do we have a right to treat these critters this way? Would we want to be caged, even if it was fancy with bells, whistles and cool cardboard boxes to play with?

I think I'll leave my musings there for now. What do you think?


shorty said...

Don't you think that a majority of us are caged to some extent.

Most of us must work a job, and our bells and whistles are merely called vacations.

I think that if the wild animal never had a taste of the freedom they could have, they don't know what they are missing. I'm not entirely for zoos myself, but I think that places that help to repopulate an endangered or protected species is helpful.

Aravis said...

I think that animals which were born in captivity, or captive since a very early age, need to be kept in zoos or reserves. I think that they need good environments and stimulation, though, and not from the people who go to the zoo. I think zoos are also the best, most popular way to educate people about wildlife they would otherwise not come into contact with. In an ideal world, none of this would be necessary, but we don't live in an ideal world.

And I love Defenders of Wildlife, too. :0)

Gladys said...

Timothy Treadwell is one of those beings whose story honks me off like nearly no other. Every time I watch "Grizzly Man", I find myself hollering at the screen like Ren hollers at Stimpy: "You EEEEEEDIOT!!!!"

The level of arrogance Treadwell displayed...auggh. (Anger often renders me semi-verbal...I just run out of words to describe someone so imperviously CLUELESS. Bears fight and kill EACH OTHER--what on Earth made Treadwell think they wouldn't do the same to HIM?)

As for zoos, I don't quite know how I feel about them either. I would rather have a human-acclimated or otherwise non-adapted-to-life-in-the-wild animal in a zoo than torn apart by predators (or its own kind) in the wild, however.