These Harrowing Images Show The Reality Of Life In Captivity For Animals In Zoos

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Canadian photographer Jo-Anne McArthur will release her second book entitles 'Captive' in October 2017 in collaboration with the Born Free Foundation, an international wildlife charity.

 

 

It explores the relationships between animals in zoos and their visitors, through over one hundred photos of zoos and aquaria from around the world.

 

The book, which will feature essays from McArthur herself along with Virginia McKenna, co-founder of the Born Free Foundation and Lori Gruen, philosopher and author, contains images which McArthur explained to The Washington Post:

 

[…] will help to further enliven the discussion about the individuals caught in these systems. The zoo conversation often loops back to conservation efforts and species preservation, at the expense of the individuals.

 

Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

 

She appreciates that her work could be construed as 'one sided' and welcomes this criticism, explaining that 'it’s important to remember that zoos are one-sided.'

 

The photos included in 'Captive' show the stark difference between how humans and animals experience zoos.

 

Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

 

For example, McArthur describes the image of a lonely seal in a zoo:

 

This is perhaps my favorite image from the book because it says a lot about how I see our experiences with captive wildlife. They are the centerpiece, the raison d’etre for zoos and aquaria, and yet we make a mockery of them and of ourselves in the way that we interact, and fail to interact, with them. This seal appeared to live alone in this small pool.

 

Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

 

She continues to describe how these images show the sad reality of life in captivity:

 

From the inside, as visitors, the zoo also shapes how we see, and fail to see, the animals — from the groomed pathways, the music, to all the supplementary entertainment. I want us to remember that we might pass through a zoo in two or three hours and return home to our families, friends, and a life of relative autonomy. Zoo animals, however, remain there long after we’ve gone. I try to show what that might be like for them.

 

Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

 

McArthur concludes that captivity far from the best way to experience animals:

 

We can also learn so much more seeing animals filmed in high definition in their natural habitats than by looking at an isolated animal behind a grubby sheet of Plexiglas.

 

Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/Born Free Foundation

 

Tourists and visitors need to be informed of the harm inflicted upon these animals, physically and emotionally, from being entrapped in a cage. Animals were made to roam free in their natural habitat, and they are not there for humans to take pictures with.

 

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