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Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 88 [13]

 Top Ten


Zoo Roos

Kangaroos at a Botanical Gardens in Israel; Dr. Avishai Teicher Pikiwiki Israel [CC BY 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

Amazing what you can and cannot find on the Web. I’ve just Googled, on a whim, ‘How many zoos are there in the world?’ and got the following:

According to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), there are over 10,000 zoos worldwide. In the U.S. alone, the Department of Agriculture licenses 2,400 "animal exhibitors," of which 212 are members of the AZA, an organization that requires high standards of animal care, science, and conservation.

Imagine! 10,000 zoos! And given that the kangaroo is one of the world’s most recognisable and (that awful word) ‘iconic’ animals, a kangaroo or two or three in almost every one of them. I would say, as a conservative estimate, there are at least twenty thousand kangaroos or wallabies, of the various species, in zoos and nature parks throughout the world.


A great many of them behind bars. For the terms of their natural lives. And, here and there, breeding programs, to supply those zoos (transport costs from Australia  could be very expensive). Feeling lucky, I now Googled ‘kangaroo breeding programs, United States’, and was introduced to the North Georgia Zoo, which has a kangaroo 'conservation' program, and numerous roos ‘of five different species’ (they turn out to have some wallaroos and wallabies, along with red kangaroos), and through their site learned of the Kangaroo Conservation Centre in Dawsonville, Georgia, just thirty miles away, which until recently had over 300 roos, presumably to supply other zoos and nature parks (‘In 2010,’ its site tells us, ‘the center closed due to costs and the faltering economy. The Nelsons sold their large animal collection, and kangaroos have dispersed from their Northern Georgia enclave all over the world.’)


Imagine. I know I’m repeating myself, but imagine. A great many of them behind bars. For the terms of their natural lives. Never having seen Australia. Just a few days ago I read a widely-syndicated story of two lions rescued from war zones in Syria and Iraq (a zoo in eastern Mosul and an amusement park near Aleppo), and of course wondered if there had been kangaroos in those places. ‘Most of the 40 animals at the Mosul zoo’, the article said, ‘died of starvation or were killed in bombings while some escaped from their enclosures’. The stories of the animals in the Warsaw or Berlin or St Petersburg zoos during the Second World War are almost legendary. In a recent movie I saw about one of these zoos there was a kangaroo hopping around.


Zoo Roos. Another of the macropods’ enslaved communities. I thought of writing this post – including them in my eccentric, departing Ten – when I came across, again quite by chance, a photograph of an emaciated kangaroo in a nature park in England. The story behind it is too horrid to relay here.

Photo: Captive Animals Protection Society

Evidently this zoo was not a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association…

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