by merry on June 17, 2013

It's Zoo and Aquarium monthJune is Zoo and Aquarium month; and it’s the perfect time to explore your local zoo or aquarium!

In honor of this month, I’m having a sale on all of my wildlife and ocean jewelry!

When I was a kid, visiting the zoo was an inspiration to me. Just seeing so many different species in one place was a bit overwhelming, but it also brought the reality of their existence home. And zoos in the 1950s and 60s hardly compare to the spacious enclosures many zoos today feature.

Yes, it’s true the animals are caged, out of their natural environment and subject to a life that is not natural for them.

On the other hand, zoos and aquariums allow a glimpse into the reality of a wide variety of animals, from penguins to elephants, sea turtles to seahorses. Where else on earth would you see so many different beasts of the ocean, air and land within such a confined space?

Kids today need to know about our fellow earthly denizens. After all, they are the ones who will be protecting and even propagating the rare ones into the future.

I used to worry about animals in zoos, and felt especially sorry for the big cats that had nothing to do but pace back and forth in their cages. I still think zoos should make the environment as natural as possible, of course. And within those confines, house animals healthfully and happily.

I love that toys are a big part of zoo keeping today. Primates have things to occupy their minds, mouths and “hands.” Even lions are given things to play with.

But the biggest contribution made by zoos, zoo keepers, veterinarians who work in zoos, even the shops that sell things is allowing  an affinity to develop and grow between the zoo-goers and the animals housed in each local zoo across the planet.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many zoologists, biologists and veterinarians today who were initially inspired by the animals visited in a zoo as a child.

And artists! I have always been deeply connected and fascinated by animals, as are many artists, going back to the days when our ancestors painted bears, cattle and wolves on cave walls. The canvas and medium used may have changed, but the love and admiration of animals continues to this very day.

Zoos and aquariums are a unique part of life in most civilized countries, and I think they will gain in even more importance when it comes to breeding and preserving our wildlife into the future.