Thursday, May 12


The spotlight has been on the Lincoln Park Zoo and its elephant woes lately, but it's worth repeating that the problems of captive animals are not related to specific zoos, but to the insitution itself: Time and again the most highly-trained and qualified people are found to be at a loss in maintaining the health of wild animals that are forced into a cruel, unnatural lifestyle - it is "incompetence" in the strict sense, only because competency in keeping caged wild animals happy and healthy is virtually impossible.

The latest example is at the Phoenix zoo, which has launched a probe into whether recent mistakes led to "a series of deaths and health problems with animals." The Arizona Republic reports: "Kris Nelson, a veterinarian whose complaints prompted the review, says dozens of exotic animals died or suffered in recent years due to neglect and misjudgments by managers and caretakers. Nelson compiled a list of more than 30 specimens that purportedly died or fell ill due to improper care and conditions, mostly in the past year. Among her allegations: Baby monkeys died because of negligence, disease killed gazelles due to quarantine failures, and many animals suffered as a result of treatment delays. Nelson, who has been on the Animal Health Committee for four years, said alarms should have gone off seven years ago when a series of blunders killed Ruby, an elephant famous for artworks." It all comes back to the elephants, after all... lest we forget.

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