missharma

08 Sep 2006 966 views
 
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photoblog image Protected, but free?

Protected, but free?

"Zoos are becoming facsimiles - or perhaps caricatures - of how animals once were in their natural habitat. If the right policies toward nature were pursued, we would need no zoos at all."

Michael J. Fox

The series of shots is of a polar bear at the Indianapolis Zoo. It was the center of attraction this summer and to the joy of the kids, the bear was swimming round and round in circles, turning upside down, and for a moment it seemed to be enjoying itself. But then a feeling of restlessness seem to come over the bear, as it went around in its restricted environment continuously. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but I felt bad for the animal -- stuck in a place where the temperature never went down below 70 for a good 5-6 months.

I'm totally for the whole protecting endangered species and giving them the appropriate surroundings to thrive in. Moreover, zoos provide a great place for kids, and even adults, to get to know more about animals, birds and plants. Its also only entertainment for many.

Ironically, we created zoos because we couldn't take care of the environment, and the species living in it, ourselves. We couldn't control others from going out and endagering it. We created a world from them.10-20 feet wide, 5-6 feet high. With fake rocks, trees, plants (thank God with real food). We made the species in the zoo unable to fend for themselves, if left in the wild (although, nature parks and sanctuaries are very different from zoos). And that isn't actually the worst part of it. The worst part of it is that we can do nothing about it. Did I do anything when I saw the polar bear there? Unable to rest peacefully under the scrutiny of a hundred people? I enjoyed my day. Liked learning about the animals, enjoyed the tricks, clicked lots of pictures and came home to put up a post like this. Its something I want to change, but don't know how to start, where to begin. Maybe it wasn't meant to be changed. Or maybe I can be a typical hypocrite and just put up a post like this in the name of photography and whine about something I cannot change. Its only human nature, I guess.

Ah, my usual rant. Don't have to read all of it ! The title and shot says for itself. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it :-)

Protected, but free?

"Zoos are becoming facsimiles - or perhaps caricatures - of how animals once were in their natural habitat. If the right policies toward nature were pursued, we would need no zoos at all."

Michael J. Fox

The series of shots is of a polar bear at the Indianapolis Zoo. It was the center of attraction this summer and to the joy of the kids, the bear was swimming round and round in circles, turning upside down, and for a moment it seemed to be enjoying itself. But then a feeling of restlessness seem to come over the bear, as it went around in its restricted environment continuously. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but I felt bad for the animal -- stuck in a place where the temperature never went down below 70 for a good 5-6 months.

I'm totally for the whole protecting endangered species and giving them the appropriate surroundings to thrive in. Moreover, zoos provide a great place for kids, and even adults, to get to know more about animals, birds and plants. Its also only entertainment for many.

Ironically, we created zoos because we couldn't take care of the environment, and the species living in it, ourselves. We couldn't control others from going out and endagering it. We created a world from them.10-20 feet wide, 5-6 feet high. With fake rocks, trees, plants (thank God with real food). We made the species in the zoo unable to fend for themselves, if left in the wild (although, nature parks and sanctuaries are very different from zoos). And that isn't actually the worst part of it. The worst part of it is that we can do nothing about it. Did I do anything when I saw the polar bear there? Unable to rest peacefully under the scrutiny of a hundred people? I enjoyed my day. Liked learning about the animals, enjoyed the tricks, clicked lots of pictures and came home to put up a post like this. Its something I want to change, but don't know how to start, where to begin. Maybe it wasn't meant to be changed. Or maybe I can be a typical hypocrite and just put up a post like this in the name of photography and whine about something I cannot change. Its only human nature, I guess.

Ah, my usual rant. Don't have to read all of it ! The title and shot says for itself. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it :-)

comments (13)

  • chris p
  • United Kingdom
  • 8 Sep 2006, 19:21
I can understand your feelings on this, we recently visited a zoo in Wales where a Brown bear was being kept in what I have to say was a fairly large enclosure.

It had been rescued from a life of pain and torture as a performance act where it had been taught to dance by forcing it to stand on hot coals.

The bear wasnt free, but it most certainly was enjoying a better way of life. Yet still I felt sad for it.
missharma: Wow, on hot coals?! I would have seriously sued them, heh. As I mentioned above, I don't mind zoos, the people running them are doing a fair job in saving the animals from possible harm in the wild. But that does not give them the right to "tame" them and make a profitable business out of acts such as the one you saw. Its harsh... you know. The same reason I'm not too fond of circuses. Saw many of them when I was young, enjoyed them too. But as my dad was a pretty big man in the city then, I got to meet some of the animals behind the scenes. I got to pet them, but also witnessed the cruel surroundings they lived in... it saddens me to see it.

Thank you for stopping by and commenting smile
Thought provoking!
missharma: Indeed it is Janine. A bit tooo much for today's theme probably.

Thanks for stopping by!
  • chris p
  • United Kingdom
  • 8 Sep 2006, 21:06
Hi again Mia, I think the zoo paid the Russian Mafia in a deal to rescue the bear and save it from the cruelty.
missharma: I don't even know what to say to that. For a minute I thought you were kidding tongue

But speaking of cruelty, my sister was watching Pocahontas (the cartoon) a few days back and it showed that a while back, the royal entertainment in Britain was to tease and perform all sorts of "entertaining acts" on animals, especially bears. I have no idea how much of it is true. Thanks for stopping by again.
  • Tom
  • United States
  • 8 Sep 2006, 21:29
Hi Mia...I couldn't agree with you more. I just did a blog photo and posting last week about a zoo here in Boston... All of the animals looked so sad. This was a good post you did...It makes people think.
missharma: The set of shots makes me think everytime I look at it, Tom. They're beautiful creatures, sadly taken advantage of in the name of preservation.

Will look into your shot from the Boston zoo; thanks for stopping by and the comment smile
  • Suby
  • MK, UK
  • 9 Sep 2006, 01:52
Thought provoking, you and Paupitina http://m-e-o-t.blogspot.com/ sorta of had the same thing in mind with your words and post today.

This is a very lovely piece of work that would be at home on a leaflet or as a magazine campaign.

Good one.

Suby
missharma: Hopefully one day I'll grow up to put something similar on the WWF pamphlet or something tongue not about zoos in particular, but about other stuff.

Thanks for the nice comment, Suby.
  • Diya
  • Switzerland
  • 9 Sep 2006, 01:58
Hi Mia

First I like the shots you posted very much! Then, I love your writing and it shows that you are a caring soul with so much depth.

Are animals just mirroring us? Are we free? Or is it just an illusion, our freedom? Are we happy in our so called freedom? Or are we “swimming” in an enclosure as well?

It is truly sad to see this strong and powerful animals (they all are) locked up in little enclosures and just look around on the streets are we any different? I see that we feel often more compassion towards animals (except the once we eat) then towards other people, on the contrary we tend to judge beggars or people who are just different.

I guess animals learn us how to feel compassion and love, because it is easier to love an animal, they don’t have any expectation at all.

I read recently a book from Penelope Smith about talking to Animals and since then I feel much more gratitude towards all the animals’ livening with us. Often they chose to life with us either to guide us or just to be our friends. At the end of the day they are not different from us at all…we all sit in the same boat…

I stop here; I guess I just went off on some thoughts

Have a wonderful weekend

Diya
missharma: Thank you for the lovely comment, Diya smile You yourself have shown to be a wonderful caring soul... most people lose that touch in the fast, hectic world we live in. Animals DO reflect of what we are made of, and what God intended us to be as. Their behavior, their actions, their survival instincts -- everything. When I think about it all, I wonder if its any good to be built in a more complex manner... what have we got anyway? Other than becoming selfish, doing things for OURselves, building OUR lives, making OUR lives better.

Thank you for sharing the thought, and have a nice week Diya.
  • nev
  • Australia
  • 9 Sep 2006, 15:56
Mia, very powerful post. You strongest photo is the one at top right and if you could post a full size of that one in your archives that would be good. I have more words but it will have to be a bit later when time permits. thanks for the thought provoking post
missharma: I like that shot the most too Nev. Kinda makes me wonder if its shying away, bored or troubled. Thanks for the comment smile

ps. would love to hear more of what you have to say someday.
  • flag'
  • France
  • 9 Sep 2006, 22:18
Hello mia,
very, very nice composition, helped by the very subject, and the main color dominating your work. You're right, this composition gives a kind of general feeling of your visiting instead of a particular picture among all others.
Congratulation. This exercice worths you going on practicing this way...
flag'
missharma: Thank you flag', glad to know it portrays what I wanted to show smile
  • sparklite
  • Toronto, Canada
  • 11 Sep 2006, 03:32
What a great statement by Michael J. Fox. I hadn't heard that one before. I agree with you but you have to remember that there is another benefit of zoos -- the really good ones at least. They often provide a sanctuary for hurt animals where they can be nursed back to well being -- even though often they can't go back into the wild. They also allow people to be educated on animals -- you yourself enjoyed it. If people don't see these amazing animals, wonders of the world really, then they will be less inclined often to protect them. Out-of-sight, Out-of-mind. Looking in a photo at a Giraff is one thing, learning from a book is one thing, but seeing them tower in real life is another. It's all about perspective and it can instill a real sense of awe which, in turn, will make many want to do what they can to protect the rest of them out there in the wild. I'm not saying 'the moore zoos the better'. No, I'm saying a few very good ones can have an important role to play in repairing the damage we humans have done.

I hope that helps a bit smile

As for the pictures? I think they're great, wonderful pictures of one amazing animal!

Many thanks. smile

Iain.

P.S. On another note, I'm sorry I have not been by as much recently. Classes have started again for me and between them and work I've been swamped. I'm not going to be able to post as much as I did before but I"ll still be checking in smile
missharma: You're back! tongue Temporarily even...

What you've said is all true, and one of the primary reasons the zoos were created, to tend to the ill, bring more animals under more suitable conditions, etc. And as you said, its an information resource for the young and old. Thats why I'm not ALL against zoos, heh. There are a few things that I think are amiss and could have been implemented in a better fashion. A few things that a lot of the world leaders should give a thought to, instead of waging wars, killing our own kind (as if killing animals, birds and forests weren't enough), amassing wealth, etc etc.

Anyway, welcome back and good luck at school smile
  • nev
  • Australia
  • 11 Sep 2006, 04:07
Mia i have lost a few of the thoughts i had the other night when i first read your post. I think you actually blogging about it is a small step towards doing something. Your words and images can effect change.

Many zoos are involved in worldwide breeding programs to help ensure gentetic diversity so for that we should be thankful. The reason i found your photo in the top right most powerful is because of the corporate sponsorship actually owning the bear and the bear appearing to reject this. Its not my place to preach but obviously we could all take our discontent a step further by joining societies and organisations. And after that actually doing something about it by boycotting certain products/companies because of their poor track record on things like rainforest destruction. In australia we have old growth rainforests which are felled for the japanese paper pulp market. This ends up being toilet paper.

From my point of view i feel like we are being made to feel more helpless all the time. When i and hundreds of thousands of others marched to show our disapproval of entering a war/invasion of another country that did not concern us our silent words had no effect. A friend of a friend marched in similar march in washington dc with about a million people and apparently none of the major news networks carried the stories. I think the best we can do is try and influence opinion in whatever way we can find and ultimately to make sure that we maintain independant thought and do not accept the easiest path which is often the one the general population takes. sorry for the heavy reponse.
missharma: ... and thank you sharing the thought (I replied to your previous comment without looking at this one). It is heavy, but very much needed to see any change in our world smile

Personally, I'm up for peace walks, demonstrations, etc.. but all the ones I've done in the past have been met with dsdain or a "Oh, it'll pass. Give the demonstraters a day or two to quiet down", from the authorities targetted. And as you mentioned, its the joining of organizations, like Greenpeace, World Wilflife Fund (WWF), even the Red Cross, that can bring about a possible change. Numbers do matter if the cause influences and inspires. Most people are not fully convinced or don't have the adequate knowledge of what exactly they're fighting for... you know. Authorities do listen. If the people are convinced and if you can show them why you care about something the way you do. The Chipko movement worked, a lot of Greenpeace campaigns have worked in the past. As for holding campaigns against war... I gues most are futile, unless we all had lived in a smaller country, where numbers could have overthrown the government tongue We make the government, we elect the people. Therefore... we have the power. It is all within us Nev, a lot of how the world has shaped today can be traced back to our decisions. Sadly, most decisions were not all that good.

I'd go on, but maybe I should cut it short here and save some more for another post. Thank you for stopping by again smile
the truth about zoos is they are only out for one thing and that's not preserving endangered animals. It's making profit at the expense of these poor animals.

a nice shot, but sad photo. if you want to do something to help, the first thing you can do is stop supporting any zoo by giving them your money and visiting them. if you want to see a polar bear, then go to Alaska and see them in their natural habitat. another thing you can do to help polar bears is contribute to help stopping global warming as that will eventually cause polar bears to be extinct.

www.climatecrisis.org
missharma: I agree global warming is a huge, HUGE issue... especially when it comes to any life form near the poles. Thanks for the comment smile
  • deji77
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 Sep 2006, 09:45
Love the images and the collage you've created from them.
Wasn't too keen about the 3rd one with the Coca-Cola sign, but having read your story, I think it works: the epitome of commercialisation.
missharma: I guess words were needed for this shot to sort of convey what I was saying. I'm happy to know it kinda works.
Nice collage!
missharma: Thanks Eleftheria! I appreciate you visiting.

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