Anonymous said: Hi, not big cat related, but how do you feel about seals performing shows for the public? I've seen you say that it's cruel to make animals perform, but the AZA accredited zoo near me (national zoo) has seal/sea lion shows if I'm not mistaken (there's an amphitheater by their enclosure) thanks!
I actually don’t know enough about these shows to know how detrimental they are. I definitely don’t like the ones that are super circus-y that I’ve seen, and in some cases the performers just live behind the scenes in pretty poor enclosures. In those cases this is definitely not okay, but I can see ways where less demanding behaviors could be considered enrichment. Any of my followers know more about this topic?
Zagreb Zoo has a kind of a sea lion show thing, which is pretty great. Basically, the trainer asks the sea lions to perform simple tricks (respond to their names, get out of water, ‘shake hands’, get in the transport cage, give him a kiss…). They are rewarded with fish (this is their feeding routine). All the while the trainer talks about sea lions, their personalities, positive reinforcement training, behavior in nature, etc etc
100% enrichment with an added bonus of educating the public and making them more interested and thus sympathetic to these creatures
It’s like every day you find out that the world is actually a worse place than you thought.
In this, the first edition in what will most likely become a series (because there are just so many depressing things out there), I bring you the “Free Papua Movement”.
I like to do a lot of research before drawing, even if they are just drawings I do for fun. I find learning new things fun. So, before I drew this, I read some stuff about cassowaries, watched some cassowary videos (including a fascinating dissection from the Inside Nature’s Giants Show) and tried to find out what kind of people lived in New Guinea and what their lives are like.
I wanted to draw my character in modern outfit, as an urban citizen, because I didn’t want to assign a specific tribe to them. It’s ok to create a character and say that they’re French.. there’s lots of French people. You can easily find out what it’s like to live there. It’s not so different from where you live, probably. BUT it would be problematic to create a character as a member of a specific group of indigenous people who number only a few dozen or something like that, and who live very different lives from you. How could you ever claim to be able to imagine what it would be like to live such a life? That’s why I wanted to draw an urban character.
Sadly, I found it very difficult to find things about living somewhere on New Guinea at this particular time in history, written by an actual Papuan person. I mostly found a whole lot of “come see this colorful tribe in the jungle” sort of stuff written for tourists. As if there weren’t any cities or people with Internet access on the island. I also found some blogs by expats. Mostly Australians. I was not satisfied.
Then I found something, but it was not a nice thing at all. You might already know this, if you are a bit more knowledgeable about the world around you than I am. There’s a war going on in West Papua. You can read about it here. I don’t want to explain anything about it, as I don’t feel qualified to do so and I think there are many websites out there that would be more suitable for that. But it is an awful situation. Another terrible thing that’s going on that I wasn’t even aware of.
In the back of your mind, you are aware of various conflicts going on in the world, of hunger, of disease, of police states. You may even discuss these things with your friends. But for people who live in peace (like me), it is difficult to internalize this information. There was a war in Croatia very recently, but my generation is too young even for that one. For me, “war” as a concept, as a reality, is somehow in the past. That’s why wars that are going on now usually just seem like something very distant and kind of unreal in my head.
/depressing post over