Responding to the shooting of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, Bill Nye says the treatment of animals in zoos is plainly unethical. Yet zoos do have a role in maintaining the health of ecosystems.
Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/bill-nye-on-gorilla-captivity-in-zoos
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Transcript - So recently a four-year-old kid got into a gorilla enclosure in a zoo and the zoo officials decided in the safety of the kid they had to kill the gorilla. So here was an animal that was in his natural habitat in Africa doing his gorillatical thing. And he got captured and ended up in a zoo. And then the guy got shot because some kid crawled into his enclosure. It’s just – there’s no good thing about this. With that said my life was certainly enriched by going to zoos. I learned that even a giraffe could exist was an amazing thing to me. And the smell of the zoo was or is something I’ll never forget. It reminds me of farms, there’s animal excrement that has to be dealt with. And you see how much you have in common with these creatures. Is it ethical? I think we all agree it would be better no if we didn’t have zoos. If we had a way to interact with animals without causing them such hardship. Now the example from my personal experience which really affects me and affects my judgment on this. There was a guy named Ivan who was a gorilla brought to the United States in the 1960s. My recollection is 1962.
And he lived with a family in Tacoma, Washington. And they hung out. The gorilla was at the dinner table and they did gorilla-human interaction things, played games, did stuff. But the guy eventually got to be the 400 pound gorilla in the room and they had to put him in an enclosure in a cage that was concrete. And you could visit him in the B&I Department Store in Tacoma, Washington. And this is in the Pacific Northwest and this guy was a character, a feature, a tourist attraction. And I don’t know – I’m not a primate expert but I looked at Ivan. I looked him in the eye. We had a little meeting behind the glass and the guy wasn’t angry to me so much as bored. Like this sucks, you know, I got a rubber swing. Humans are interesting but it’s really not my deal. He got transferred to the Atlanta zoo and I visited him in the Atlanta zoo and he had it going on man. He had a big enclosure. He had girl gorillas. And you could just tell by the way he was walking around this does not suck. This is cool. That was my interpretation of Ivan’s emotions. I may be completely wrong about this but Ivan grew up with humans. He accepted humans. Humans were as much his pets as he was our pet. And so there was some crossover there that I found really compelling as a human. Read The Full Transcript Here: http://goo.gl/EfDYbN.
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