According to the author, the population of Sumatran tigers in the wild is falling.
3) Not stated
When I was a small child, I thought that I was the luckiest person in the world — we lived near the zoo and I could go there whenever I wanted. And I wanted to go there every day! My grandmother, who looked after me while my mum was at work, would buy two month tickets, which was very cheap for the two of us — she was retired and I was under seven, so we bought the tickets at a special discount.
The zoo was another world to me. It was a great way to escape the reality of a big city with its skyscrapers and highways. The asphalt jungles were the right place for cars but a poor environment for small children. The zoo territory seemed very large and there were animals from all around the world there. My usual route started with the bear enclosure. The large, brown bear, called Paddy, was separated from the visitors with a high bar fence which I thought was absolutely unnecessary — the bear looked very friendly to me.
Then I grew older and could read the information table near the bear enclosure. It said that the animal was the East Siberian Brown Bear, born in the zoo. The bears of that species are large and skillful. They can hunt reindeer and elks and they also fish in the great Siberian rivers. “So sad,” I thought, “The bear has never seen the great environment he belongs to.” That actually made me look at the zoo from another angle: it seemed large but the giraffes didn't have enough space for running, the seals were kept in a pool that was far too small for them, and the leopards were pacing up and down the length of their cage. They felt nervous with the visitors' eyes on them all the time but there was no shelter on their territory. Should zoos be abolished?
I'm still in two minds over that. On the one hand, life in the zoo is like serving a life sentence — there's no hope of the animals returning home. That's definitely unfair. On the other hand, zoos are a place where children can be taught about different animals and where they can see animals from other parts of the world. It's also true that zoos can save some species from extinction. For example, three Sumatran tigers were born in our zoo several years ago. It's very unlikely that all three cubs would survive in the wild but in the zoo all of them turned into mature, healthy animals and now the staff are happy to take care of the eight new cubs of the rare tigers. The media said that when the tigers are old enough they will be returned to the wild.
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