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Call for Belfast Zoo to close flawed as animals are content within its environment

letter of the day: food for thought

Published 13/10/2016

CHRIS McGimpsey wants to see Belfast Zoo closed on the grounds that the animals are confined to small areas in unnatural conditions. His reasoning is flawed.

Animals that require large territories do so because they are forced to roam widely to look for food. If food is locally abundant, as at Belfast Zoo, they tend to stay put.

Mr McGimpsey - a man of strong views on natural habitats - might well decide to abandon the small confines of his house and office and his easily available food sources and join up with the bushmen of the Kalahari.

He can experience the benefits of a very large territory, as has been natural for humanity for most of the last 400,000 years.

He can spend his days digging up tubers and lizards - if he's lucky enough to find them without the expert skills of the bushmen - happy in the knowledge that he's free and hungry in a natural environment.

On the other hand, he might well opt to continue to live within the confines of an artificial environment.

This will allow him the time and luxury to ponder the possibility that, if he finds this arrangement satisfactory, then so might other animals, whose alternative would be a short, parasitised, pre-dated life spent in the constant search for food.

RICHARD SPENCER

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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