Today is National Zoo Day, a day to formally recognize and appreciate the wild animals that now lead a domestic life. The most obvious way to celebrate this ‘holiday’ would be to take a trip to the zoo! But there are some other things to keep in mind.
Zoos have been around since Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians housed exotic animals such as hippos, baboons, elephants and wildcats. Other well known historical figures dating back to the time of the Ancient Israelites such as King Solomon and King Nebuchadrezzar are known to have collected animals in zoos as well.
The darker part of human history, right up to the early 20th century, is even known for housing human beings behind cage bars in a zoo. This was done to illustrate the difference between European and non-European origins. This went on as late as 1958 when a zoo in Brussels held a live display of a Congolese village.
On a lighter note, zoos can be a very positive addition to a local culture. The enclosures that the animals are held in are carefully constructed to replicate their natural habitat for educational and research purposes. Also, many zoos display wild animals that are endangered and are kept there for conservation purposes. It is only their secondary purpose to serve as public entertainment.
So happy National Zoo Day everyone! Take your kids for an adventure to the zoo, especially if it’s a beautiful day out like it is here in sunny Charleston! Every day is a learning experience, make this one fun.