10 Most Controversial Zoos Ever


• What zoo made headlines for purposely
killing its own healthy animals? How did the Surabaya Zoo earn the name “The
Zoo of Death?” Here are 10 of the most controversial zoos
and animal attractions on Earth. 10 –Ocean Park
• This aquarium in Hong Kong is a sort of magnet for animal rights activists, particularly
relating to its dolphins. • There is an ongoing campaign to convince
the park to release its captive bottlenose dolphins to the wild, but park officials insist
the dolphins are well cared-for, and only perform in shows out of their own free will. • Of course, there is also a video from
Ocean Park that appears to be of an attempted dolphin suicide by slamming itself against
the walls of its tank. • Park officials also claim that’s just
a habit of that particular dolphin, and it doesn’t actually hurt itself. 9 –Khan Younis Zoo
• Gaza is a difficult place to run a zoo. Or anything, for that matter. • The constant fighting, military occupation,
and explosions going on everywhere make it difficult to keep people fed, much less animals. • Even when things are peaceful, the zoo
is minimally staffed, but when fighting breaks out, the staff is unable to get to the zoo
to care for the animals. • And that means dozens of animals are left
in enclosures to die of starvation and thirst for weeks on end. • This has happened twice at the Khan Younis
Zoo, where animals are left for so long, they actually begin to decompose because staff
can get back to them. 8 –Toronto Zoo
• There isn’t anything particularly controversial about the way this zoo is run. The Toronto Zoo has been open since 1974,
and they’re fully accredited and legitimate. • But in 2009, they hit an unusual set of
circumstances –three elephants died in a span of four years. • One of those elephants was Tara, the longest-tenured
elephant at the zoo, who died at the age of 41 for reasons that were not really known. She had not shown any signs of being sick
until one morning she just couldn’t get up. • African elephants can live to be as old
as 70, but the average lifespan for elephants in captivity is around 40-45 years old. 7 –Le Mat Snake Village
• This tourist attraction in Thailand is a zoo… in the same way the lobster tank
at your local seafood restaurant is a zoo. • You don’t really go to the Le Mat Snake
Village to see the snakes. You go there to eat them. • You go there, pick out your snake, and
then the prep begins. They kill the snake by stabbing it through
the head and drain its blood into a glass for you to drink. • Then they pull out the still-beating heart
and put it into a small shot of vodka – also for you to drink. • After that, they grill the meat, and use
the fat to make fried rice. 6 –Wilhelma Zoo
• In 2014, Anton the polar bear died suddenly in Stuttgart, Germany. The reason why wasn’t immediately apparent…
zoo officials just noticed him starting to vomit up pieces of fabric. • It turns out Anton had gotten into a jacket
dropped into the enclosure by one of the guests at the zoo. • There was probably food inside it, and
so Anton just swallowed the jacket whole, causing fatalintestinal damage. • The same zoo has also seen a hippo die
from choking on a tennis ball, and an elephant die from swallowing a teddy bear. 5 –Tiger Temple
• One of the premier tourist destinations in Thailand – other than the snake village
– is billed as a “sanctuary” for wild animals, including a number of endangered
species. • Problem is… the so-called “Tiger Temple”
wasn’t actually supposed to have those animals. • Many of them found their way there through
the black market and underground dealings, and many of the tigers in their care ended
up slaughtered for their furs. • A 2-year investigation linked the Tiger
Temple to an illegal animal trafficking ring. 4 –Surabaya Zoo
• This zoo in Indonesia is better known as the “Zoo of Death.” • Between July and September of 2013, 40
animals died at the zoo. Those include a giraffe with 20 kilograms
of plastic in its stomach, and a tiger whose stomach rotted from eating meat laced with
formaldehyde. • A few months after that, an African Lion
was found dead in its cage, after it got its head stuck between some metal cables and hung
itself. • Authorities wanted to examine the lion’s
body, but it mysteriously disappeared before they were able to. 3 –Calgary Zoo
• A collection of seven Humboldt penguins dying in 2016 was only the latest in a series
of mysterious animal deaths. Here are just a few that occurred in the span
of about 10 years. • 200 fish died from water quality problems. • A spider monkey died of frostbite. Another was crushed by a hydraulic door. • A possum was stepped on and killed by
a zookeeper’s foot. • A capybara was also killed by a hydraulic
door. • A hippo, several mule deer, a baby elephant,
a wild goat, four gorillas, and 41 stingrays are also on the list of the Calgary Zoo’s
obituaries, all since about 2005. 2 -SeaWorld
• The most famous aquarium in the United States has never really been free of controversy. • In 2010, orca trainer Dawn Brancheau suffered
a grisly death in the jaws of one of her own orcas. • They’re not well-publicized, but injuries
to both orcas and trainers are not uncommon at SeaWorld. • But the latest 2010 death led to a number
of investigations and articles on the matter. And at least one study has found that the
life of captivity may actually be driving Shamu insane. • Because orcas and dolphins are intelligent
to the point of near-sentience, they’re subject to the same mental issues from isolation
and captivity as humans. 1 –Copenhagen Zoo
• Several of the zoos on this list let animals die from neglect, poor conditions, or unusual
circumstances. • The Copenhagen Zoo is probably the only
one that kills its own animals on purpose. • In February of 2014, they shot and killed
a perfectly healthy giraffe, simply because they were trying to prevent inbreeding. • Just a month later, they killed four healthy
lions… to make room for another lion. • The explanation is that the new lion – a
young male – would have ended up fighting the other lions for supremacy and one of them
would have ended up killed anyway… so they just cut out the middle man.

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