Uncaging the Beasts

Staff writer: Lani Yun

If you’ve been proactive in the community of animal cruelty and people of the world fighting to free them, then you’ve probably heard of the most recent move towards a more creature friendly world. Cage free zoo’s, and by that, I mean exactly what I said.

A zoo in Chongqing, China is making moves not only to free their animals but also to allow its visitors an even better spectacle of the species roaming around. So here comes the question of how any of this is safe to the people visiting these facilities. Well, rather than caging up the wildlife in the zoo, the animals are actually free to wander around, while the humans are put behind bars in a moving truck that takes them around the exhibits and allows them to get an up-close and personal experience with the beasts.


A bear at the Lehe Ledu zoo checking out a bus

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Now, while movements toward more animal friendly wildlife parks are really picking up speed in the population, the notion has some feeling concern. Quoting Olivia Wade, a freshman at Woodstock High, she thinks the idea is innovative and would be very different but thinks that some animals wouldn’t come close enough to the cage for people to see them. Which, in perspective, would put a damper on the trip, but luckily for those that get the opportunity to venture to these zoo’s, the staff working in the exhibits call animals toward the cages and offer food to draw them closer to the tourists.

In case your concern lies with how you can get to one of these zoo’s without boarding a plane for hours on end, you should know cage free zoo’s aren’t just limited to one specific area of the world. In fact, the idea has started an entire new concept that is spreading globally. Take for example, a zoo in New Zealand, called the “Orana Wildlife Park”. This wildlife exhibit has started up a cage free tour for the visitors that want a shot at seeing big cats, such as tigers and lions, closer than ever before. With the adventure through the habitat of the cats, tourists also have the chance to feed the creatures if they please, making their experience even more personal.


Tourists feeding the lions from their moving cage in the Orana park

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

With all the attention that’s being directed at the cage free zoo concept, there is a high possibility it might even be coming to the America’s. Denver has started releasing their idea’s and sketches for a zoo that even humans can experience from outside of a cage whilst the animals roam around freely. But here lies another problem, Emma Visser, a senior at Woodstock High School, says “I think cage free zoo’s are a good idea and they could work, but it also might be pretty dangerous. Some pros would be that the animals get to be let out of their enclosures and not feel as confined as they do in a typical zoo. But a con would be that since animals are quite territorial, there could be a danger of them attacking one another.” And she is absolutely right, that possibility is big, but for animal lovers, anything seems better than keeping the creatures holed up all day.

To wrap things up, there are many ups and downs to this free roam zoo. But at the end of the day, releasing the animals from a small area that they are tied to all the time decreases the chance of depression and psychological problems in animals. Not to mention it would make the experience a lot more memorable. Hopefully we will see all zoo’s participating in releasing their beasts in the near future.






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