Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Breeding under Captivity?

This is a question I came face to face with through my recent Zoo visits, and a debate I had recently with a friend. Gave me another possible insight into the situation of captive breeding, and its possible implications on our attitude/duties/powers over or towards nature.

So many species are going extinct now. And yes, obviously we (humans) are directly or indirectly responsible for a lot of them. But now, if we cannot help it by not disturbing their habitats, does this mean breeding them in captivity to ensure they survive is a noble option?

Many of us have gone to zoos. And most of us have at some point felt :"How sad.. that animal must want to be free and roam the jungles now, instead of being caged like that".. But we may not think, that the animal if left in the forest by itself might not have survived in the first place. So by capturing it, does it mean we ensured it survived, and hence we have rights over its life ?

I am not taking sides in this argument. I do think that captivity is important sometimes to make sure that atleast the remaining species dont go extinct. But then, when I see the poor cheetah forced to walk about in 20 yards of space in Singapore zoo, I remember the dialogue I have quoted previously also from Wall-E : "I dont want to survive.. I want to live !..".. and I imagine the cheetah saying this while he suffocates in his meagre make-do 20 yard jungle.

So, simply survive, or else live free in some jungle under the risk of extinction. Is that the only options these creatures have now?

12 comments:

mea culpa said...

"So many species are going extinct now."
sad, but yes, true.

I can't think of being in a room for more than 10 hrs!!! frustrating!!!

Why are we called Humans??? we don't deserve it any more!!!

krik krak said...

This exact debate is discussed nicely in "The Life Of Pi"..Worth a read

Hari Vishnu said...

@mea
well so wat abt the other side of the argument? by caging them, atleast we're ensuring they have a life. isnt that something?

@krik krak
thanks dude, will hav 2 read that one sometime soon..

vatsil said...

"So, simply survive, or else live free in some jungle under the risk of extinction. Is that the only options these creatures have now?"

Actually they don't have those options; these are the options we have for them; as far as i saw on Discovery channel about breeding in captivity for conservation goes like this - they protect the little ones and once they grow up they let them back in their natural habitat with a close watch and continue breeding other small ones

Hari Vishnu said...

@vatsil
oh ok, thats a more acceptable solution. but i dont think thats how it is defined everywhere. somehow i have read that zoos seem to fall under the definition of 'captive' breeding (breed until the creature is ready to go into the wild, and until a habitat is available. and if it isnt, well the animal remains a captive)

Mahesh Mahadevan said...

Comment unrelated to the topic of the post.

Apart from the obvious India color theme, I'm beginning to doubt that you have more elaborate reasons than that for the color scheme you have chosen for different themes of text that you post on your blogs. Have you, by any chance, read "The Never-Ending Story" by Michael Ende? (the name is his actual name, not a funny sounding pen name, like the ones many pornographic performers choose)
If you do get a chance to read it, please do. The story beginss where it ends, and it has some unusual features. He uses a similar color scheme for the text, when the text is the story being in the story, or the characters of the story reading the story. How self-referential can it get? I think I have advertised it enough for you to go and pretty much buy yourself a copy.

Harshad said...

Seems Wall-E has definitely made a mark! Success for the director and its crew I should say...
It is really a sad situation when it comes to wild life conservation esp back here in India. Not only the wild life even the domestic animals are treated with cruelty. You might have seen the video by PETA which shows what troubles the chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs n other animals have to face.

I wonder a biology class some 50 years from now. Imagine the difficulty the teacher will have to face when more than half of the animals would be extinct!!

Hari Vishnu said...

@mahesh
hehe its just coincidence that those colours came up.. will go thru the book, at some point, though :-)

@harshad
yea dude.. bleak picture u painted.. at this rate, future bio classes may be just a list of extinct species..

kochuthresiamma p j said...

i get the same feeling - the tragedy of captivity-when i see a bonsai

Hari said...

Captivity... Hmm... :-)

Buddy, try reading the booker-winning book, "Life of Pi", by Yann Martel. It'll help you in reaching a conclusion and might even give you more points to fight with your friend.

In a way, captive animals are given more comforts than a 'free' animal. There's surety of food and water and all other supplies in a zoo. But as you rightly summed up, The right to live supercedes the right to survive.

Fantastic post. :)

Btw, Wall-E rocks!!! Watched it two times, and still feel like going for another shot at the movie. :D Thanks for suggesting it! :)

Hari Vishnu said...

@kochutheresiamma
well, wou can feel pity for the caged. but then again, wonder what kept it alive in the first place :)

@hari
yea thanx 4 d book suggestion dude, krik krak has done the same.. gotta lay hands on that book soon..

abt wall-e.. dont thank me, thank disney :)

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