This week our class was taken to the London Zoo for a creative trip. While in there, we were asked to think about our position towards the zoo and what opinions we have regarding this subject.
For me, zoos have always been in a sort of grey area. Of course, they do keep animals in captivity, caged in relatively small spaces, in climates often very different from their natural habitat. However, on the other hand, it is thanks to the zoos that some endangered species are able to survive; and that we are able to see and study these animals up close.
My experience in the London Zoo has not changed my position. In fact, I still believe that zoos are important to preserve and help some species. The difference between finding a zoo bad or good, for me, is how they treat their animals. This is the key aspect that made feel disappointed with the London Zoo. Since I have been to a handful of different zoos across Portugal, Spain and now London, I am able to compare and distinguish these institutions from one another.
While the London Zoo provides an amazing experience for visitors, taking time and effort to make people feel they are in the same habitat as the animals themselves, the actual space they reserve for animals is not that much. This is why I prefer the Lisbon Zoo. Although the space where visitors walk is not that exciting – it looks just like a regular street – , we can see that the animals have a lot of space and are very well taken care of.
To summarize, the London Zoo makes people feel their are in the animals’ habitats, while the Lisbon Zoo makes animals feel their are in their own original habitats. One focus on people, the other on the animals.
One thing I did like about the London Zoo was all the art, specially illustrations, they had across the venue: