Friday, April 15, 2011

On Zoos and the End Times

At the zoo watching the lions lay around.
When I was young I never really liked going to the zoo. My feet always hurt after all the walking around, the animals that were actually visible never did anything interesting, and the snow cones always looked so yummy but Mom never got us any. Plus every sign loaded with evolutionary propaganda bothered Mom. When she rolled her eyes, we did too.

What? Is that animal actually doing something???
On Monday we took the kids to the zoo for the second time. It was a fun enough outing. My feet still hurt, but the sea lions performed water ballet, the orangutan climbed and swung, and the penguins were their usual frisky selves. The evolutionary posters have mostly been replaced with environmental ones but the kids can't read so we didn't let them bother us. We did eat elephant ears—sugary, deep-fried and delicious!

May I be as friendly as the penguins...
When I visit the zoo, all the animals just seem bored to me. I know that zoos are much better nowadays than they used to be, but the critters still don't have anything to do. Sure they're safe, but survival is pretty much all they live for. In their cages there is no food to catch, no predators to run from, nothing to do but wait for another meal and another check up from the vet. They either sit around staring vacantly, wander back and forth aimlessly, or sleep. Maybe animals don't get bored. Maybe they sit when tiredness in their limbs tells them to and then pace when the weariness disappears.

What should I do today?
Oh yeah, nothing.
I'm not really into pets or animals. I have enough poop to deal with already, thankyouverymuch. But I do think that humans have responsibility towards the animal kingdom—not to restore it to it's natural state, but to take Kingdom domion over it. The people who put animals in zoos are trying merely to keep them alive and they would like it if we humans would get out of the way on the earth so animals could be free. Free from pollution, free from hunters, away from people. This comes from their belief that humans are a recent (unfortunate) addition to the global ecosystem.

These guys really look like they're enjoying a good life.
When God created the world, He placed man in a garden and gave him dominion over the animals. There was no killing then, no fear. (I always wonder what kind of teeth lions had.) Then came the fall and the first animal was sacrificed to cover man's nakedness. After the flood the fear and dread of man was put into every beast of the earth, bird of the air, and fish of the sea and all of them were given to us for food. But in the end, when all things are made right again, the lion will lie down with the lamb and they will let even a little child lead them. For then the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.

People, meet monkey.
Monkey, meet people.
In God's perfectly designed the world man is at the pinacle. No, we shouldn't use our power and our technology to wipe out forests or contaminate oceans. We shouldn't run over manatees with our motor boats. But neither should we abandon our cars and our skyscrapers, take off our shoes and live in caves eating only nuts and berries. At the end of the world we won't just have dogs and cats as pets—we'll have wolves and lions in the backyard playing with our babies. Cities won't spew forth smog—they will be teeming with life and growth. Animals won't wander in the wilderness, afraid of man and afraid of each other. The whole earth will be a garden and birds and fish and beasts and humans will dwell in peace and harmony.

The lorikeets were quite friendly!
That's the vision I want to see plastered on posters and plaques all over the zoo!

"Did you drink my sugar water?"

Joshua gazes at the elephants.

This cat was pacing like he knew the vet was gonna give him a shot of something.

Esther watching the hippos.
Nothing happened.

And one more because she's just so cute!

A mongoose! It's like Rikki Tikki Tavi!
According to Rudyard Kipling, the mongoose is very curious.
This one (of the dwarf variety) looked like he wanted to crawl on our shoulders and sniff our ears.

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