Animals in Captivity: Telling the Right Story

As far back as I can remember I have had an extreme passion for animals and wildlife. Some of my fondest memories are visits to zoos and aquariums where I learned so much about fascinating creatures from all over the world.

But nowadays, I feel almost overwhelmed by the multitude of negative publicity zoos, aquariums, and entertainment companies are receiving. To be fair, much of the criticism is warranted. From the most recent cases of Harambe the gorilla’s death and the removal of the tigers housed in Thailand’s Tiger Temple, to the inhumane conditions elephants and orcas face in captivity, public opinion surrounding the captivity of larger and more intelligent creatures has changed dramatically in the last decade.

This change in public opinion has had a noticeable effect on these organizations, some of which have begun to change their ways. For instance, SeaWorld has announced that the current generation of orcas will be their last in captivity with the ending of their breeding program. Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey have ended their elephant shows a year earlier than planned and transitioned their star elephants to an elephant sanctuary the company maintains in Florida. The Toronto Zoo has also transitioned its elephants to an elephant sanctuary back in 2013.

But instead of shedding light on these progressive organizations, too many media outlets and activists continue to harp on the unfavorable aspects of zoos, some even calling for their end altogether. This would destroy the enormous breeding, conservation, and educational efforts the zoos have worked tirelessly to establish over the years.

The point is if you are an organization that is doing the right thing you need to make sure the news, media, and public realize and hear about it. You cannot allow yourself to become discouraged by the media’s juicy obsession with pessimistic stories.

At kglobal, we have worked with organizations on both sides of the story. We know from experience that the proper outcome can only result from allowing both sides of the story to be told.

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