Although it is too late to add my experience at Berlin Zoo to my dissertation, I felt I had to document it on my blog. To say I was surprised by what I seen would be an understatement!
Berlin Zoo is a very large and famously known zoo which makes you think they would have the state of the art enclosures for the animals and the conditions would be of high standards. But no, it was the complete opposite… small glass cages containing more animals than it should hold, majority of the animals were held inside due to the weather conditions, giving them no where near enough space to roam.
The enclosures were mainly made up of concrete, bars, chains and ropes. Hardly representing the wild, with little straw, bark and wood for the animals to play with.
Here you can see one of the orangutangs in the monkey house. His expression and body language just shows how unhappy he is, I was surprised that none of the other zoo goers could see or was experiencing what I was. Everyone seemed to be happy enough to sit and watch the ape sat sadly like this, some of the children were even knocking on the glass, obviously adding to the animals discomfort.
Walking around the zoological park, you could feel the sadness of the animals in the inside enclosures and also outside.
Here you can see the extent of the damage being in captivity is doing to the animals, this was the first real sign I seen of zoochosis: the goat has plucked its fur out in distress.
The big cat enclosures were unstimulating for the animals and the furthest from their natural habitat. The display the tigers were giving was quite unsettling, pacing back and force in their pens, growling loudly whilst running into the wall of the enclosure. They were clearly uncomfortable with the surroundings.