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Born Free USA Blog
Adam M Roberts

Born Free USA Blog

by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer

When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.

What Passes for ‘Cute’ at a Washington Zoo

Published 05/11/12

Zoos. Don’t get me started.

But what’s that you say? There’s an elephant at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC who plays the harmonica. And there’s zoo-provided video footage to prove it?

All right, that got me started.

Zoos are prisons for wildlife, where many animals are kept in solitary confinement with no hope whatsoever for parole. Lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, flamingos, monkeys, birds — you name the species and it’s probably now locked up for life in some small, dreary, unnatural gawked at for a few seconds by fidgety kids, wise-cracking teens and distracted parents who’ve just plopped down $20 for drinks and burgers at the zoo’s Rain Forest Café and now are trying to figure out what their next entertainment buzz will be.

Zoos invariably claim they conserve species. And that they are educational facilities. For the most part, none of that is really true. Conservation is about what remains in the wild — not a few individuals in a zoo. Education is about learning the truth — zoo enclosures don’t present a realistic, educational portrayal of wild animals’ lives.

Zoos are very good, however, at telling us about elephants who play the harmonica.

And that has me singing the blues.

Blogging off,

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