|The San Diego Zoo|
The San Diego Zoo is a beautiful, 100 acre park known for its lush gardens, naturalistic habitats and transcendent animal encounters. It’s an extravagant home to more than 3700 rare and endangered animals representing about 660 different species.
During my visit to the seaside sanctuary, I had the chance to observe, in person, animals that I would otherwise never have the privilege to see. It was a bittersweet experience because it hurt my heart to watch as some of the animals suffered from being held in captivity.
Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve had a passion for studying wildlife and my parents have passed down to me an acute sensitivity to animal’s feelings. I have a knack for perceiving their joy, curiosity, anger, fear and pain.
With camera in tow, I wanted to create an intimate picture of the animals I saw there so I focused on portraiture. Hopefully, the following collection of photos captures the beauty of these innocent creatures and expresses the sympathy I have for them.
Zoo critics claim that wild animals in zoos suffer physically and mentally because their complex social and behavioral needs cannot be met in unnatural manmade environments. They say many animals show signs of anxiety caused by the stresses of being held captive.
Lack of space is a major issue with animal rights activists as they believe most of the larger animals aren’t allowed the necessary room to roam. Some of them are forced into small cages where their every move is on display in front of the bustling crowds.
Zoo proponents argue that their main priorities are animal welfare, conservation and education. They believe that zoos give people from all walks of life the unique opportunity to experience and learn about the animal kingdom.
Today in this troubled world, wild animals must negotiate a labyrinth of challenges such as habitat loss, destructive weather, poaching and war. Proponents hope a visit to the zoo will inspire people to participate in protecting animals and conserving their environments.
I do think zoos offer a sort of protection as they play a critical role in the survival of threatened and endangered species. I just have a feeling that if the animals could talk, they would probably say - “We’d rather be free.”
|An extravagant home|
|3700 rare animals|
|A bittersweet experience|
|Hurts my heart|
|Sensitivity to animals feelings|
|An intimate picture|
|Focused on portraiture|
|Animals need room to roam|
|Wild animals must negotiate a labyrinth|
|Proponents hope a visit will inspire|
|Zoos play a critical role|