Born free

The Northland Age - - Opinion -

Auck­land Zoo’s last two lions, Kura and Amira, were eu­thanased this week.

The deaths of these two lions should be a wake-up call for any­one who still har­bours the il­lu­sion that zoos serve any pur­pose be­yond in­car­cer­at­ing in­tel­li­gent an­i­mals and sen­tenc­ing them to a life­time of frus­tra­tion.

Lions, like all an­i­mals – humans in­cluded – long to be free. Even the best zoos can­not be­gin to repli­cate their nat­u­ral habi­tats or give them the au­ton­omy to make choices about re­la­tion­ships – or any­thing else for that mat­ter.

Had Amira been among a pride of lions, where she be­longed, her life would not have had to be cut short when her mother had passed away as she would have an en­tire com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing a fam­ily of her own, to help her over­come her grief.

It’s time we stopped treat­ing an­i­mals as liv­ing ex­hibits, but rather as the sen­si­tive in­di­vid­u­als they are, and we can start by mak­ing the choice to­day never again to visit a zoo or any other institution that in­car­cer­ates an­i­mals for hu­man amuse­ment.

And if Auck­land Zoo gen­uinely cared about these lions the way they claim to, then they will make them the last ones to suf­fer in the con­fines of their four walls and choose to sup­port projects that ac­tu­ally pro­tect an­i­mals in their na­tive habi­tats in­stead. DESMOND BEL­LAMY

PETA Aus­tralia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.