Kyoto Zoo Visit
An Animal Rights Article from


July 2007

My name is Alice. I'm from Norway and in June 2007 I visited Japan.

Kyoto was full of cultural riches with their temples, old town houses and geishas.

The Japanese people that I met, on the street, in taxis, at restaurants, were all so warm hearted and helpful. It was therefore a shock for me to experience Kyoto zoo.

The first encounter was an orangutan. The animal had been there for 27 years. I didn't seek his face. I didn't want to look into his eyes. His huge coated back against the hot cage bars told me a story I didn't want to hear.

The second encounter were the great wild cats.....I lost my breath. I stood there looking at them. I stood there whispering over and over again "I'm sorry".... while the tears ran down my cheeks. A strong and quiet encounter that tore my heart apart. What gives us the right to treat our wild life creatures this way!?

(Photo - 01)  A cage for two cats
(Photo - 04)  Alive - no life

I had to leave. The pictures I have attached are not mine. I wasn't capable of taking pictures, going on or going back.

The elephant was also there. Alone in a cage so small and in an environment so barren.

The polar bear was pacing restlessly to and fro. Video was taken. He had lost his mind.

(Photo - 02)  With no where to go
(Photo - 03)  Too late to save

All the cages were small concrete boxes with a ledge or two to rest on.

Nothing else. Dirty, still water. Nothing green. This was death row.....for the innocent. I was shocked and dismayed.

World Wildlife Fund had a donation box by the entrance gate. For me this meant that WWF supports the zoo, the facilities and the way the animals are treated or not treated. If WWF supports and accepts this keeping of wild animals, I am more than astonished. This would be unbelievable.

I know that the Japanese people can make a difference. They live with nature's rhythm and have the knowledge and the "know-how" to make life so much better for these animals. Osaka aquarium (the world's largest) shows us a different and amazing story concerning animals environments when in captivity.

Where is the voice that can help these animals with no voices?

Where is the voice who can save these animals, who have no time to wait? you have the voice that can help them?

I'm Alice.

Thank you for sharing this with me.

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