Monday, May 4, 2009

White tigers at Haifa Zoo

Haifa's authorities are proudly advertising the city's newest residents, a pair of white tigers who arrived at the Haifa zoo last month. They are featured on billboards all over town, and frequently mentioned in local and national newspapers. Today's article discussed how these Siberian animals are adapting to the Israeli summer heat (with air conditioned rooms and pools to play in), and also mentioned their diet of fresh meat.

I have mixed feelings about zoos. Some people argue that it's cruel to keep animals caged, and it is true that many zoo animals become depressed. On the other hand, I can understand the counter-argument that zoos help preserve the genetic diversity that is being destroyed in nature by the expansion of human habitats. Perhaps one day, when humans have expanded into space, it will be time to reduce the scope of our presence on this planet and allow the other species to reclaim large areas. I hope this will happen before it is too late. In the meantime, I suppose zoos have a role to play. Also, as a cat owner who keeps her cats indoors, I think some animals can have a good life even "imprisoned" or deprived of their freedom.

So I hope to visit the zoo soon, to see the white tigers and other animals.

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