What we learned from zoos

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2007:
Early zoo visits helped to motivate the lifelong pursuits of
both ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett and editor Merritt Clifton.
Recalls Bartlett, “I have always been at odds with people
who want to close down all zoos, because the animals mostly have
nowhere to go.
“Some of my very earliest memories are of the zoo in Jackson,
Mississippi, which was among my favorite places to be, second only
to the mimosa tree in my great aunt Minnie’s front yard. The Jackson
zoo was probably a hell-hole for the animals, but I thought of it as
a truly magical place full of wonderful animals.”

Remembers Clifton, “My family did not have pets. Neither
did we have television. Most of my early exposure to animals, in
the 1950s and very early 1960s, was through occasional visits to
the Oakland Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, and once the Rotterdam Zoo
in The Netherlands. Every moment of my zoo visits was remembered,
treasured, and became deeply influential, later in life. Even as a
child, I recognized some very bad zoo practices. Barren concrete
enclosures and too-small cages shocked and upset me. Yet I also saw
some good examples, that helped encourage me to believe that good
zookeeping need not be an illusion.”

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