In today's day and age, when we know so much about animals and the fact that they are sentient, aware beings who have their own families, lives, desires, and needs, why would anyone opt to start a zoo where they will be unnaturally confined against their will?
Believe it or not, this is the plan in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Zoological Society.
The zoo, in its planning infancy, is being spearheaded by Board of Trustees Chair Bruce Thompson. Mr. Thompson has no experience in the zoo field, nor with animals. He is a businessman focused on telecommunications, and also runs a secondary business in capital fundraising. Neither of his listed businesses: Thompson Associates nor COS Telephone Inc are registered businesses within Nevada. Both businesses exist as generic websites that have not been updated in years.
Mr. Thompson first filed paperwork with the Nevada Secretary of State in September of 2014. However, recently, the local news picked up on the story and provided some coverage of Mr. Thompson's plans. At that point, CWI got involved.
The proposed zoo plans for elephants, pandas, and other large mammals to be put on display in the desert where inhabitable conditions exist for four months of every year.
While the zoo claims to be focused on education and conservation, it does nothing to address the Las Vegas region's numerous animal issues. Rather than, for example, creating a sanctuary space to assist in the overabundance of "house" tigers, or the mass slaughtering of wild horses, this zoo wants to bring in animals not suited to the desert climate, because somehow this is supposed to "educate" visitors. However, it is commonly known that claims zoos make about their ability to educate the public about animals or inspire interest in conservation have been debunked in numerous studies. It's common sense: if zoos, which have been around for more than a hundred years, inspired an actual commitment to conserve species, why do we now live in a world drowning in conservation issues? In fact, the ability to see animals, even in stuffed animal form, has been shown to detract from an individual's sense of urgency or need when it comes to conserving wild species. Human psychology works like this: "I see it right there, it's common, therefore it must not be an issue." A plaque next to a cage containing a tiger does not instill a sense of urgency to protect tigers, or any animal.
This zoo is yet another effort to make money off the backs of jailed animals, perpetuating ideas that humans have dominion over animals and causing detriment to legitimate in situ conservation projects.
CWI has launched No Animal Jail Las Vegas, our newest campaign, that will ensure this facility never comes to fruition.
Follow the Facebook page to keep-up-to-date on the zoo and advocacy efforts to stop it. And if you are local to the Las Vegas area, please email us to get involved in local actions.
Animals don't belong in jails. They did nothing wrong. Support conservation efforts on the ground where they are actually needed: in the habitat of endangered animals. Captivity is not conservation.