Happiness Day 17 and the Daegu Zoo

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I am so conflicted when it comes to zoo’s. As a vegetarian and huge supporter of animal rights I get upset to think of animals taken form the wild and made to live in an unnatural one for our enjoyment. Yet at the same time I used to love going to the zoo and think they are a fantastic way to teach people about animals, plus they are a lot of fun. Living in South East Asia means that I have seen a few zoo’s that are absolutely terrible when it comes to caring for the animals. I will never forget the one in China where you could buy a live goat to feed to the lions, or the ones in Thailand that we ended up refusing to go to after hearing about the way animals are tranquilized so the staff can perform shows with them. With this is mind we went to the Daegu Zoo yesterday for school and I was feeling a little unsettled about what would greet me there.

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The zoo itself was beautiful. It was a zoo/park with lots of play areas and space for the animals and visitors. The deer, llamas and zebras had a really nice spacious living area and I was feeling pretty good about the zoo.

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But then we reached the chimpanzees and my heart broke. There were about 5 chimpanzees in a really small cage, just lying around looking miserable. I think it is the way these animals resemble people in such a freaky way, but seeing there with such a tiny living space was really upsetting. They must live an awful life with barely any room to play to run around, not to mention there were no trees or anything for them to climb.

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Like most zoos there were birds in small cages which is always depressing. They are birds, they should be flying a distance longer then 1 meter. But the worst I could see were the wolves that were pushed together in a tiny cube like space that one was pacing furiously around. Animals like this are amazing to see up close, but they do need space to run and play! I had really mixed feelings about this zoo. For Asia I think it was a great zoo, but overall it could do a lot more to make the animals more comfortable and happier. I did enjoy seeing bears and elephants (!) which I had never seen before in NZ. And they all seemed pretty happy in their home.

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