A couple of friends and I were watching s TV show dealing with some of the behind-the-scene workings at major zoos. Most of the show talked about the things the keepers do to keep the animals they care for entertained and mentally stimulated. Things like hiding food or introducing unusual toys into their environment can go a long way towards the zoo animal’s health.
As part of the diet of some of the large carnivores, the zookeepers would place already dead but whole creatures (usually rabbits) into the trays for the animals to consume. One of my friends commented that once in a while (maybe once a year) the keepers should toss in a couple of live rabbits into the enclosure and let predator and prey fulfill their natural functions. The lions would like it and I doubt it would take even the most cage bound and domesticated tiger very long to figure out what this wiggly and yummy smelling thing is for. It’s easy to make more rabbits and while they may not be in favor of the plan I’m more concerned for the big cats.
I can imagine the ASPCA would raise up a fecal-storm of complaints and lawsuits.
It’s probably not the best thing to do in front of the kiddies but I guess that if I heard my local zoo instituted this practice then I wouldn’t object. Would you?