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Rewilding the Lifeboats

Rewilding the Lifeboats

(p.360) Chapter Twenty-Nine Rewilding the Lifeboats
The Ark and Beyond
Harry W. Greene
University of Chicago Press

This chapter defines wildness in terms of ecological and evolutionary processes, rather than minimal human presence, and then asks three questions: To what extent do politics and culture constrain zoo design and management? Might the answer be “too much,” and could zoos better achieve their important core goals through greater attention to natural processes, including those that entail mortality? And, are there acceptable ways in which zoos, as de facto lifeboats, might "rewild" themselves, with attendant advantages in terms of animal welfare, conservation, education, and nature appreciation? Here, these issues are explored through considerations of the natural history and captive display of rattlesnakes, the controversial death of a Danish zoo giraffe, and the manner in which giant lizards and vultures are exhibited and perceived by zoo visitors.

Keywords:   zoos, ecology, evolution, animal welfare, education, nature appreciation

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