Captive wildlife

I went over to Tampa last week with Tom M. and toured both the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary and the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary.

Not sleeping
Eyes of the tiger – resting in his den and watching visitors at the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in Tampa Florida.

Neither place is intended to be a good photo-op (lots of fences and obstructions) – you have to be lucky to get a good image.  The geometry and light in the scene above worked well, but it’s the only animal photo I made that day that I like.

Volunteer caring for residents at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

Volunteer caring for residents at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

So why am I writing about these if they’re not good photo ops?  This is supposed to be a blog about photo ops, right?  Well, we met several volunteers at each place and learned a great deal from them about wildlife in captivity.  If you care about wildlife then there are  things about captives that you should know.

Seeing wild animals such as whales in their natural habitat is exciting and inspiring.  Seeing them in captivity, knowing some of the background on how they’re captured, bred, and kept is depressing.  The tiger in the photo above was well cared for and kept in nicer conditions than many others.  Although sometimes big cats can be returned to the wild, this tiger will never be released.  Wouldn’t it be better if they’d never been captured at all? Places like the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary and the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary are doing their best to care for large, wild animals that can’t be returned to the wild.  But there are so many of these animals that they’ll never be able to keep up.

Are all instances of captive wildlife wrong?  Maybe not.  But many situations are clearly bad and should be against the law.

I know you don’t come to this site for editorials and commentary, but thanks anyway for stopping by and reading this.  And if you care about this subject, you should click on the links in this post to learn more.

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

5 thoughts on “Captive wildlife

  1. Another interesting blog, Ed – well written and with plenty of useful links.

    It’s depressing to think of the very many ways we have found to exploit other species on the planet, including putting them on show.

    Let’s hope that legislation creates ever higher barriers to keeping wild animals, demands ever higher welfare standards, and puts ever more emphasis on wildlife and habitat conservation.

    PS My comments never get posted at the first submission, but will if I keep trying.

    1. Thanks for your comment Rhona. I try not to get all “preachy” on the blog, but occasionally I can’t resist.

      Also, thanks for the feedback on comments. They’re tough to control with all the spam out there. It’s hard to find a combination of settings that allow real users to comment while at the same time keeping spam off the site. I’ve updated my controls again and I hope they’ll correct the problem you’ve been having.


      1. Definitely no need to apologise for shining a light on an important issue.:)
        Re the comments form, I only worry that others may give up too soon. I wonder if it’s worth suggesting readers ‘copy’ their comment before trying to submit, in case it doesn’t post at the first attempt.
        PS After half a dozen attempts to post the above using my customary AOL browser, I’m about to try using Internet Explorer, in case that makes some kind of difference…

        1. In at the first go!

          Either a fluke, or indicative of something – eg maybe I need to update my AOL browser somehow?!

          1. Well, I haven’t tested how the blog works with the AOL browser so I can’t say if that’s an issue. But I’m glad it worked for you this time. Please let me know if you have any more problems and I’ll tweak the settings again.

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