Bad Journalism and a zoo

I saw a tweet today that for some reason made me feel really angry – not really at the person who tweeted as it was a retweet but at the article that was linked to the tweet. “Penguins killed by foxes at London Zoo“.  Everyone goes ahh, when it comes to penguins and most people hate foxes. So, the urban foxes are victimised again for doing what is natural to them – kill animals to eat. If we hadn’t taken over their habitat then they would be killing rabbits and other small rodents like the countryside foxes do. If I was a fox living in the Regent’s Park area and if there was easy access to a local eatery (aka the zoo) then of course I would go there for dinner. This article should really be about Westminster Council’s report about the whole zoo – “The report also found that enclosures were inadequate for the long-term keeping of tigers, low fencing could allow animals to escape into Regent’s Park and snakes have escaped into public areas.” Below are my reasons for being annoyed:

1. I’m not a big fan of zoos. OK, it is nice for children to see animals that you wouldn’t normally see but as most animals are still taken from the wild, it just isn’t nice to see them in small enclosures. Or any enclosure for that matter. Maybe I should join Born Free. The report stated that the tiger enclosure was inadequate – this should have been the headline.

2. Penguins are cute but I’m sure they look like a tasty dinner to a fox. Anyhow, the penguins should be in their natural habitat and fighting it out with killer whales and polar bears. I’m sure the press wouldn’t be so keen to write “Polar bear kills penguins” as people will be torn between cute penguins and lovely polar bears.

3. The cause of fox population exploding in urban areas could be because “There have been fears that fortnightly bin collections have and increases in rubbish on city streets have helped allow the animals increase in numbers.” If people were able to reduce their waste to zero then there wouldn’t be any rubbish in the streets, hence foxes wouldn’t be going “down the bins”.

My conclusion (heh, this sounds like an essay I’m writing): close down the zoo in London and give the land back to nature. Foxes would then roam in a more natural habitat and kill rabbits instead (oh, but rabbits are cute too, I can hear). The animals from the zoo that can’t go back in to a natural habit can be housed in better surroundings like a safari park or a reserve. Everyone should reduce waste and that would keep the fox population down in urban areas. Also, I feel sorry for the free-range chicken that was killed by a fox at London Zoo – if the penguins hadn’t been killed then the chicken would never have made the news. It always helps to be cute and cuddly in this world.


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