Passing Time in the Gardens
At the Zoological Gardens that is… but the speed of time seems to be a measure of how meaningful that time has been spent.
When you are stuck with no way out all you have is time. Time drags, time seems to stand still, and time can have no productive meaning. Poor animals. Most are happy visiting zoos and I have been to many zoos all across the country. But I am always a little sad.
The little bear tried to stay close to the big bear, but the big bear kept posturing toward it to leave it alone. They paced back and forth for a long time in their small enclosure, then went into the den. Polar bears are generally solitary animals. Polar bears have one million times the amount of space they would utilize in the wild compared to that of a zoo enclosure. Information from the video below.
Sad because I empathize for the animals resigned to a life of captivity.
Even the garden plants have spaces larger than many of the cages that animals inhabit. And these tight quarter conditions lead to some pretty stressed out animals.
This bear awoke from a nap in the hammock and started to bite inside the log. It looks as if he has been chewing on the log for a long while.
Repetitive behaviors in captive animals is called “Abnormal Repetitive Behavior”. It describes all the odd repetitive behaviors we recognize in captive animals, like those found in zoos.
The Meerkats are in an indoor enclosure that is pretty dim. Don’t they have a desert life or live on open plains? It would be very bright in these type of habitats.
The odd and repetitive behaviors that animals in zoos exhibit are caused by conditions like depression, boredom and psychoses. Zoos will give antidepressants or tranquilizers to control the behavior of problem animals manifesting signs of depression or aggression.
This vulture can only open its wings to get it up to a branch about six feet off the ground, one hop and one flap. Here it is sitting on the ground gazing skyward.
The lack of privacy for animals, especially those that live predominantly solitary lives in their native habitats, makes life literally unbearable, or at least, difficult for them. They often lack mental stimulation and get almost zero physical exercise. Bears that may travel tens of miles a day are reduced to cages and small enclosures. Birds, like raptors may never experience flight.
This spotted hyena has a rather large outdoor enclosure it shares with another hyena. Like the polar bears, the other hyena wanted nothing to do with it, repeatedly chasing it away. Hyenas live in family clans. So it started to push the ball for about 30 seconds. This is the first time I ever saw them play with the ball, but having little else, probably used it more out of sheer frustration.
You would think that zoo animals get accustomed to a life in captivity, but I am guessing that they really don’t. Instincts are retained after many generations of captive breeding and zoo borne animals suffer the same behavioral difficulties as their wild bred brothers do in zoos. You might think because they have ready food and bodily safety that they would be appreciative of this life of leisure, but animal behavior is very complex. The animal’s instinct is to be prey or be predator. Some, to be a burrower, or to live in trees. Zoos take away all the things an animals knows is right. Is it not any wonder they are bored with no job to do and lots of time to do nothing?
This tiger paced the same route over and over. It is estimated that big cats in zoos spend 48% of their time pacing a well-worn path. Lions have around 18,000 times the amount of habitat range in the wild as they do in zoos, according to the second video below.
Animals like polar bears or big cats are used to hunting, and regular feeding replaces hunting in zoos. Hunting is an activity that hones the senses, keeps them physically fit, and occupies them for a good portion of their waking hours.
While I was viewing the tiger above, a mother was telling her child that she wished she had the life of leisure of that of the tiger that was pacing back and forth. I could only shake my head because this tiger was extremely stressed and did not look happy at all.
This otter kept trying to get inside its enclosure, pawing at the access door. Frustrated, it would go for a swim, dive down, circle the pool once, go back and paw at the door. This went on for over an hour. The otters have a very large and well equipped habitat compared to many other animals. Plus, otters seem to play and have fun, but you will see in the video below, it is not always the best of circumstance for them. See my post Otter Garden for images of the otters in their zoo home.
I love to see wild animals, but seeing the signs of stress in zoo animals, I look at them with great sadness. They are bored and sorrowful looking. You can argue that many wild animals are protected and kept from extinction by being housed and bred in zoos, but the reality is what kind of life do they really have?
A giant octopus, Octavious, in the Los Angeles, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, pulled the plug on its own four-foot by five-foot tank, drowning out the facility. The keeper walked in on a huge mess and a dead octopus. There was much controversy over housing this creature in such a small enclosure. Had Octavious lived, she would have likely fell prey to Auto Mutilation Syndrome it was surmised.
Another octopus would squirt water at the lights in the facility and short them out. Seems to me they were trying to tell their keepers something of great importance. That or in the case of the light-shorting octopus, passing time in a mischievous way.
The snow leopard was stalking the antelopes in the enclosure across the way. All it could do to pass the time was watch, track and pace.
Any animal that is denied its freedom instinctively knows that they are missing a big part of their lives, whether it was born in the zoo or not. Natural instincts don’t just disappear and zoos don’t train it out of them. Animals deserve to spend their time as nature intended. Unfortunately for them, people see them in many ways nature did not intend.
Two Videos on Zoo Life
The five-minute videos are of animals in zoos and the commentary tells the story.
What the Animals Think of Us
I was passing the time visiting the zoo, but I got to leave and go home. I enjoyed my time photographing the inmates, but these animals will never experience the joy of going home.
Looked at Time Before
I have looked at time before with a look at nature and gardening, so I had to look in a different direction for this exercise. We must perceive it quite differently than animals, but it seems that the caged animals see time as one long ‘same and never ending’ experience. See…
for a ‘cerebral’ look at time. I was surprised and a little disappointed at first that the generator gave me a word I did before.
The word today came from: Random Word Generator.
A Final Note on W4W
W4W was always about expanding creativity or seeing a word in situations not commonly thought of, like my look at time or the word accidental.
I often do posts on projects I had in college that were meant to make you see, feel and in turn, get creative. W4W came from a college exercise. Month in Tens explores themes, many of which were school projects, also.
You can see it here.
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