Yann Martel’s fascinating Life of Pi describes zoo life and all it entails. I know little about animals. Typically, I stay away from them and friends will tell you tales of how I have sought to persuade them not to get a new cat after the death of an old one. “It’s time to move on,” I usually say. But alas, parents fall prey to their children’s sweet requests. Though my proselytizing against the animal race has failed, I am persistent. Martel’s book (given to me by a pet lover) is quite fond of animals, particularly, it is quite fond of zoos. The first few chapters give an elaborate and convincing case for the necessity of zoos. This abstract idea of “freedom” in the wild is completely meaningless and absurd in Martel’s world. Zoos provide the two things the wild cannot: a) protection and b) food.
Assuming zoos provide a decent and suitable territory, animals will make their territory their new wild. They will even behave (assuming they are being treated well). In fact, as the author stresses, the most dangerous animals in the zoo are humans. Go figure. Man, the king of beasts!