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Is the home of the Zebra "SERO" a zoo or an animal exhibition?

 Zoo is remembered by many as a warm childhood memory. Still, zoos are one of the most popular destinations for Children's Day, and rare newborn baby animals are frequently mentioned in the media. At the same time, the topic of "the need for zoo" is a topic that has steadily emerged since the improvement of animal rights. There are still many problems, from stressed animals in narrow zoo cages, animals that are overworked while performing shows in aquariums, to animals that live in human arms and are suddenly released into nature unprepared. Starting with the story of the zebra Sero escaping from the zoo in March, let's find out how animal rights are treated not only in Korea but also in other countries. Also, let's find out what positive zoos at home and abroad have in turn, and find out what Korean zoos are worth emulating.

 

Functions of a zoo

Ability to watch or protect animals

 The zoo was built because people can see animals in person, understand and communicate with them, watch them, and relax in their daily lives. Zoos also preserve species by protecting endangered animals until their habitats are stabilized. Has the ability to help animals that are physically injured and unable to live properly in the wild, or whose habitats are destroyed and have nowhere to go back to nature. There are also zoos and animal research institutes that conduct animal research activities on animal health, welfare, and wildlife epidemics.

Diplomatic functions

 In China, pandas are presented to friendly countries and commonly referred to as 'panda diplomacy'. China's Panda diplomacy is greatly influenced by diplomatic relations between each country. In Korea, "Aibao" and "Lubao," which were leased from China in 2016, also built their nests in Everland as symbols of friendship between Korea and China. China has lent "Yaya" to the U.S. for 20 years, but it will send "Yaya" back to China in 2023 without extending the loan due to worsening diplomatic issues between the U.S. and China, such as trade negotiations. However, the problem is that most zoos in Korea suffer and are left unattended only for the sake of people's viewing. Most zoos are operated in a breeding environment where animals were used in cage made of steel bars on concrete floors. There is a problem with animal welfare in Korea, so the controversy over animal abuse in zoos continues, and it is time for countermeasures

                                           

Cases of domestic and foreign animal abuse

 Most of the facilities that accommodate and display animals, such as zoos and aquariums in Korea, have been criticized for a long time due to poor breeding conditions and animal abuse problems. In May 2022, there was a controversy over raising white lions underground indoors, with reports that camels that died at a zoo in Daegu were cut into pieces and used for tiger food.

What caused the zebra "SERO" to escape

 In addition, you can also think about animal welfare in the case of zebra 'SERO', which became a big issue after escaping the zoo in March. Only the keyword "the appearance of a zebra in the city center" became a big topic, but we should focus on the fundamental cause of the escape of "SERO." A zookeeper at Seoul Children's Grand Park said, "SERO's parents died two years ago and SERO must have felt lonely after that," adding that the zebra "SERO" escaped because of the stress caused by losing his parents. Of course, the loneliness of "SERO" was also the cause of the rebellion, but SERO formal behavior was observed even before the escape disturbance. Even before the escape disturbance, Sero repeatedly hits his head against a pillar or shows abnormal behavior of fighting with a kangaroo living on the next fence. Abnormal behavior seen by animals in these zoos is called formal behavior. Formal behavior is an abnormal behavior caused by the zoo's poor environment, such as repeated behavior of wandering around or continuing to go back and forth when an animal is stressed, self-abuse such as eating or pulling its own excrement, and lethargic behavior of lying down and sleeping all day. Even before the escape disturbance, it was pointed out that the zoo of the Children's Grand Park has 94 species and 700 animals living in 9 areas, so the area of animal history is narrow compared to the population. Most of the facilities were aged for more than 20 years. This environment induces formal behavior in animals. After suffering from an escape disturbance, the plan to rebuild the Children's Grand Park, which was scheduled to take place over 10 years from 2030. They plan to reduce the number of animals from the current 90 to about 40 species. They are trying to eliminate the plaza and expand the area where animals live more than three times as much as we do now. To create an animal-centered environment by providing an environment similar to the original habitat of animals, such as forests, grasslands, and lakes, and creating a space for animals to hide. Many media and the public have described the escape and rebellion of 'SERO' as caused by stress and loneliness of losing parents. Also, the zoo expressed that it was just "because I was upset" to reject Sero's favorite carrot snack and hit his head in the pillar after Sero's escape disturbance. This SERO’s formal behavior should not be substituted for human emotions, but should be viewed as a problem to be solved.

Missing "Bibong" back to sea

 The situation is serious not only for zoos but also for aquariums. The southern big dolphin "Bibongi," which had been locked in an aquarium for 17 years and mobilized for the show, was released into the sea in October 2022. Only two months of adaptive training before being discharged, not enough to prepare to return to nature. Eventually disappeared after 5 months of natural release. It is a big controversy because the aquarium believes that there is no condition to raise more, so it is sent to the sea without sufficient wild adaptation training and disappeared. The aquarium was heavily criticized for being caught in the sea, bred in a narrow cage for years, overworked by dolphin shows, and eventually sacrificed.

Controversy over indoor cafes in Korea

 Recently, not only animal abuse controversy at zoos, but also indoor cafes of various animals such as cat cafes and raccoon cafes have become popular, and such indoor cafes have also become more controversial. Since indoor cafes are operated indoors, they cannot provide an environment suitable for animal habits, which causes extreme stress on animals. These animals may develop stereotypical behavior due to stress. No matter how well the manager manages in an indoor cafe, it is an environment where he/she cannot avoid stress due to the nature of an animal cafe.

Cases of animal abuse abroad

 Not only the zoo controversy in Korea, but also the serious animal abuse controversy abroad, which is mainly animal abuse in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, which is 'elephant tracking'. It is a tourist commercialization of people taking a walk on an elephant, and the purpose of it is for human play is wrong, but serious animal abuse is accompanied in the process of taming elephants. In Thailand, it is said that elephants are abused to the extent that they are hurt by shooting them with a metal skewer called a bullhook shaped like a hook to tame them. In addition, in order to eliminate the wildness of the elephant, the baby elephant is forcibly dropped from the mother elephant and locked in a small cage. Like this, there are bad cases of commercializing animals overseas and using them only for human gain.

Overseas zoo welfare cases

 In Korea, there is a lot of controversy over whether the environment of many zoos is appropriate for animals to live in, but overseas, there are cases of zoos that have a good environment for animals to live in and care about animal welfare.

Leipzig Zoo in Germany

The Leipzig Zoo provides animals with a different environment than the Korean zoo. The Leipzig Zoo consists of a large area of more than 27 hectares and is divided into various areas such as the African Pavilion and the Rainforest Pavilion. Animals live in habitats that suit their own nature, such as grasslands and jungle. In addition, conduct a 'behavior enrichment program' to hide food in the forest or jump up and eat it so that it does not lose its wildness. Unlike most zoos in Korea that isolate visitors and animals with bars, Leipzig Zoo has deep ditches or low walls to give visitors a feeling of actual jungle or grass. To create an environment suitable for animals and an environment suitable for them to reduce the stress they put on people by making a cage of appropriate size.

Penrose Laboratory at the Philadelphia Zoo in the United States

 The Philadelphia Zoo Animal Laboratory, built in 1901, is the first of its kind. Penrose Laboratory at Philadelphia Zoo in the U.S. focuses on comparative pathology research. Comparative pathology is a study aimed at revealing the true nature of diseases by comparing and studying diseases of humans and various animals. Penrose Research Institute has improved the way elephants are raised and managed through tuberculosis research on Asian elephants. More than one-third of zoo animals died from influential problems. First to report an immunodeficiency virus infection in many types of monkeys, such as AIDS. As such, zoo research institutes, which are not just zoos for viewing, but also strive to ensure healthy survival of animals through research in various fields such as animal health, welfare, and wildlife epidemics, function positively as zoos.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

 Serengeti national park, registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, is a national park in serengeti meadow, Tanzania. Serengeti National Park should be designated as a protected area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the government should protect and manage ecosystems and ecological processes. The area is about twice the size of Chungcheongbuk-do in Korea, and the difference from ordinary zoos is that the original ecosystem was designated as a national park to prohibit hunting, and only cars were marked to minimize human intervention. It is not a unilateral view of animals, but a zoo where humans can hear nature for a while.

Korea's Animal Protection Law and Improvement Measures for Korean Zoos

Animal-related legislation being improved.

 The Animal Protection Act, enacted in 1991, was revised for the third time in 31 years in Korea. The revised Animal Protection Act is the first to expand the scope of animal abuse and raise the owner.The act of causing death of an animal in violation of its management and protection obligations is also defined as an act of animal abuse. Secondly, a plan to prevent recurrence of animal abuse was created and an order to complete a course or treatment program was introduced to animal abusers within 200 hours. Thirdly, the private animal protection facility reporting system was introduced to provide a basis for supporting part of the cost of environmental improvement and operation of private animal protection facilities. In addition, when operating temporary animal protection facilities, it is necessary to report to the competent local government and comply with the operating standards. The revised law on animal protection is scheduled to take effect on April 27, 2023.

Improvement measures for Korean zoos

 Especially in Korea, where the animal welfare environment is poor, efforts are needed to pay attention to the minimum welfare as there is a lot of controversy over the need for zoos. We need to look at the welfare cases of overseas zoos mentioned in this paper and borrow cases that can be applied in Korea. For example, as the aforementioned example of Serengeti National Park, Korea is geographically limited, so it cannot be released and raised in an environment suitable for animals, but it is necessary to provide a habitat suitable for animals that are not cement floors. In addition, research institutes and zoos, such as the Penrose Institute at the Philadelphia Zoo, should work together to study animal disease, welfare, and health to help preserve endangered animals by providing them with proper care and habitat

It has been a long time since the awareness of animal rights has increased in Korea, but there is still a lot of talk about whether zoos that have been problematic for a long time are needed. Of course, it is unreasonable to argue that zoos should be eliminated immediately because there are many advantages to the existence of zoos and zoos that care about animal welfare. Therefore, it is necessary to move forward to become a better zoo through countermeasures so that zoos can play a positive role. To that end, as mentioned above, it will be important not only to enhance the welfare of the environment in which animals live, but also to come up with strong legislation that can actually improve the zoo's environment.

 

Delivery man's photo facing Sero, who escaped from the controversial
the poor conditions of domestic zoos
A bear showing formal behavior by tapping on the wall
Leipzig Zoo in Germany

In addition, it is important to improve animal welfare and revise related laws, but most importantly, it is necessary to stop consuming indoor animal cafes and zoos where animal abuse is taking place by raising citizens' awareness of animal rights. To respect animal rights and welfare from the consumer's point of view, it must first be preceded by a good understanding of the pain and suffering that animals are experiencing, and recognize the importance of living in the right environment and receiving proper treatment.

장서영  hweqpiy6678@naver.com

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