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Replacing cages with streaming feeds of animals -- an air zoo.

Zoos arose when access to animals either did not happen at all, or required grueling travel. Theoretically, zoos brought the exotic creatures of the world home in fascination (less charitably, in domination). Mostly, they were sad places for animals and people alike. Cramped, concrete jungles, too often in urban environments.

Perhaps, zoos improved on taxidermy. The denizens of “natural history” museums teaching children, teaching us, that Big Life is glass eyed and moth eaten – as far from the true ethos of wildlife as it could be. If zoos improved on the shotgun schools of zoology, however, it was marginal. Nothing is itself in a cage. As the Toronto City council to its credit recently concluded before sending Thika, Toka and Iringa to a California sanctuary, elephants do not belong in Toronto.

Today we have every possible means of observing animals in their natural element or large open sanctuaries. The NPS's live webcam of brown bears salmon fishing at Katmai is a perfect and excellent example! As science museums have evolved to present what is new in new ways, so we should encourage zoos to do the same, by moving animals to legitimate open space sanctuaries and bringing the images at home.

Imagine streaming feeds of formerly caged animals in sanctuaries. Imagine an “air zoo" that would truly allow our children, would allow us, to appreciate what it is to be a tiger, a lion or an elephant. And would do it in ways zoos do not and simply cannot achieve – close up, resting and foraging, interacting with their companions, being themselves. It also would conform to our evolving sense of proper treatment and care of animals, as the Toronto City Council has proved with its pioneering decision. Finally, it would keep zoos out of the exotic animal trade, an increasingly problematic relationship that troubles more and more of us past distraction.

Zoos can evolve better and faster, and should.


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  • Nov 27 2013: "Btw, I think we need an expert, someone who can help us ensure that our use of drones doesn't cause aversion/avoidance of areas. Webcams and satellites, there, I'm not too worried, but drones apparently can be quote loud at low altitudes."

    Agreed. i was thinking the quadcopters are a bit noisy, but at 1-400 feet, how much of that would be noticeable at canopy and ground level? Important to know for sure.

    The other design, the model plane version used for the conservation drones... I posted the question on that video...I think they may be silent, as they are propelled by computer chip, gps pre-programmed-- so that means not flexible to stop and hang out and focus down on something happening... more of a flight tour, no stops kind of thing.

    "Queen of the Drones".--LOL!!!
    • Nov 27 2013: Great information, you're definitely living up to your new title!
    • Nov 28 2013: You do drone on a bit ! ( just kidding !)

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