I am all in favor of training zoo animals. It occupies their minds, it exercises their body and makes shifting and medical procedures so much easier. To my way of looking at it all good Zoo Keepers are Trainers and all good Trainers are Zoo Keepers. It is all about animal husbandry and complete care. Good training has the extra benefit of interesting the public and gives the opportunity to educate visitors. It is Edutainment and at its best can raise extra cash for the collection and for conservation.
Where I draw the line is when training becomes 'circus'. Where animals are pulled from their mothers and bottle raised for performances. Where freaks are used in shows. Where animals are presented in settings which do nothing for the natural.
Anyone who knows me is only to aware that I am wholly against hands on with big cats be it for 'walks' or using them as photographic stooges. So it will come as no surprise that when I read of the plans of Zoo d’Amnéville en Lorraine, an EAZA member I was both shocked and disappointed. Just what are they thinking about?
They have planned for 2015....'Tiger World'........ Okay I have said my piece, here is the Google translation and link to the article: