Sunday, December 14, 2008

Give us a kiss love...

After a gory duel for dominance, the triumphant elephant seal bull advances, bellowing, towards his harem, where he'll seize the first available female and mate. After which he'll put on his velvet bathrobe, light a pipe, and thumb through back issues of Playboy. The articles are very good.

(photo by Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott for National Geographic)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Zoo is not a dirty word...

My friend Brenda Posada, Director of Publications at the LA Zoo, is knee deep in the current, much publicized controversy over the new elephant enclosure being built at the zoo. A vocal group of animal activists has called for halting construction, and the city council is to vote tomorrow on the fate of the project. As of this moment, things aren't looking so good for the new exhibit.

As I have stated many times before, I believe that zoos are extremely important aspects of our urban environment. Live animals trigger something in us that bypasses our civilized selves and connects with our deepest existential core. Developing children need to experience animals, smell their smells, analyze their ways of moving and interacting. Adults need to be reminded of their essential animals selves as they wend their way through the marketplace and the imaginary world of money. And what of the animals' welfare? As we willfully destroy their natural habitats, I think it is our obligation to provide our animal cousins with quality homes that meet their individual needs. Zoos can do this.

So what's really going on with the elephant project over at the LA Zoo? Like Brenda, I believe, that animal activists have their heart in the right place, but they are failing to understand what a zoo is in 2008 and the level of care they provide.

It's true that elephants are notoriously difficult to keep in captivity. This new enclosure attempts to address these very issues. More importantly, the big question is if the enclosure isn't completed, where will Billy the Asian elephant or any other potential pachyderms go? What are the best options for the animals? Weighing all the choices, completing the enclosure is clearly the best way forward.

Please read Brenda's fine piece from the Huffington Post found here.

PS: If you are interested, please email me and I will tell you how to contact the city council to express your pro-elephant-enclosure sentiments.