By David Grazian
Orangutans swing from Kevlar-lined hearth hoses. Giraffes banquet on celebratory birthday muffins crowned with carrots rather than candles. Hi-tech dinosaur robots growl between metal timber, whereas owls watch lively cartoons on outdated tv units. In American Zoo, sociologist David Grazian takes us on a safari in the course of the modern zoo, alive with its many contradictions and unusual wonders.
Trading in his tweed jacket for a zoo uniform and 2 muddy paintings boots, Grazian introduces us to zookeepers and animal rights activists, mom and dad and children, and the opposite human primates that make up the zoo's social international. He exhibits that during an important shift clear of their unlucky pasts, American zoos this day emphasize naturalistic indicates teeming with lush and immersive landscapes, breeding courses for endangered animals, and enrichment actions for his or her captive creatures. In doing so, zoos blur the imaginary limitations we often use to split tradition from nature, people from animals, and civilization from the wild. whilst, zoos deal with a wasteland of competing priorities--animal care, schooling, medical learn, and recreation--all whereas trying to function facilities for conservation within the wake of the present environmental and climate-change main issue. the realm of the zoo displays how we undertaking our personal prejudices and wishes onto the animal state, and make investments nature with which means and sentiment.
A revealing portrayal of comedian animals, thrilled kids, and feisty zookeepers, American Zoo is a amazing close-up exploration of a vintage cultural allure.
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Extra resources for American Zoo: A Sociological Safari
Moreover, enrichment augments not only the physical and psychological welfare of zoo animals, but also the popularity of zoos themselves. Physically active animals impress zoo visitors far more than their sleepy counterparts, and in fact studies show that audiences spend twice as much time viewing energetic animals than those same creatures lying dormant. Meanwhile, captive animals displaying repetitive stereotypic behaviors (such as pacing) naturally disturb zoo audiences, particularly those concerned with animal welfare more generally.
50 Second, while exceptions exist, it is not uncommon for American zoos to hide the feeding of prey (live or dead) from public view by spatially or temporally sequestering such practices from audiences. Again, this is especially the case in areas designated for young visitors. At City Zoo, keepers and volunteers working in the children’s zoo prepared and distributed small birds and rodents to owls, hawks, and other large raptors on a daily basis. These carnivorous diets included the bleeding carcasses of thawed frozen mice (referred to in the industry as “pinkies,” “fuzzies,” or “hoppers,” depending on their size), white rats, quail, and yellow chicks, some stuffed with additional helpings of raw ground meat.
This can be a tricky feat, because although zoo visitors might think they crave realism in naturalistic zoo displays, it is often an idealized realism void of unpleasantries such as animal feces and regurgitated prey. ”12 Nature making in zoos also requires balancing the aesthetic tastes shared among visitors with the health and safety of the animals in their collections. This includes designing and maintaining secure yet com- 20 • Chapter 1 fortable enclosures for a variety of living creatures, feeding them individually calibrated diets, and providing veterinary care, exercise, behavioral stimulation, and opportunities for reproduction.