Target: Dennis W. Kelly, Director of the Smithsonian National Zoo
Goal: Provide animals with more living space
The Smithsonian is internationally known for its free museums. The Smithsonian also runs Washington DC’s Smithsonian National Zoo in Woodley Park. The zoo is clean, easily accessible, and filled with 2,000 animals of 400 species. Founded in 1889, the zoo is open every day except Christmas. It is especially known for its giant pandas.
However, other free zoos, such as the Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and the Saint Louis Zoological Park, give the animals more space to live in. Animals are also more frequently seen in pairs at other zoos. The animals at these zoos seem happier and more comfortable with people. At the Lincoln Park Zoo, for instance, gorillas come up to the window of their house and will observe visitors, sometimes making sounds in what looks like a greeting. There are at least six gorillas in this habitat, and they socialize with each other.
The Smithsonian National Zoo frequently keeps animals alone in small exhibits, especially in the Small Mammal House and the Bird House. The animals seem agitated, pacing back and forth in their cages. For example, a toucan was kept alone in a cage that couldn’t have been much larger than 10 feet wide. It was jumping back and forth and cawing agitatedly. Similar behavior was seen in marmosets and a sand cat. The gorillas have less room than the ones at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and a less natural looking habitat. They are less interested in the visitors than gorillas in better environments.
Animals need room to run around for their psychological health. Zoos might be saving these creatures from poachers in their natural environments, but we also owe it to these animals to give them an environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. Urge the Smithsonian National Zoo to give animals more living space.
Dear Mr. Kelly,
We appreciate the efforts of the Smithsonian National Zoo in protecting the lives of 2,000 animals and providing a free place for visitors to appreciate wildlife. However, we feel that some of the animals, especially in the Bird House and the Small Mammal House, don’t have enough living space.
A toucan was recently seen jumping back and forth in a pen that couldn’t have been more than 10 feet wide, cawing in agitation. Similar anxious behavior was observed in a sand cat and marmosets. Other zoos, such as Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo and the Saint Louis Zoological Park are also free, and give animals more room to move around. As a result, the animals in these parks seem more comfortable with people.
The gorillas in the Lincoln Park Zoo have a large, natural looking environment, where they live in a small pack. They frequently come up to the window to see visitors. They will even make and respond to visitors’ gestures to communicate. This behavior is less common in animals at the Smithsonian Zoo.
Please give the animals at the Smithsonian National Zoo more living space. If other free zoos can do so, there must be a feasible way to do this. Thanks.
[Your Name Here]