freedom and captivity

Hola from Peru,

All zoo enclosures are too small. No matter how the zoo increases the size with a view to accommodate the needs of the sensate being captured within, it will always be a tiny fraction of the natural habitat. The condor in captivity is a crime.

San Diego Zoo has condors on show in a netted enclosure. When I was there, the condor sat morosely on a branch, physically unable to do what it does naturally. It was a sad sight.

In Colca Canyon in Peru the condor is free.

The Incas revered the condor as a symbol of freedom. Here in Colca, they soar above the expectant crowds of humans who have come to see the amazing creature in flight. The birds exude intelligence as they sweep past, as though they know they are on show, and they are performing for the audience. Perhaps they have their eyes on some of those small dogs tumbling out of the buses.

A range of adjectives comes to mind when one watches the condor circling above the canyon on the thermals. The locals are almost all speaking Spanish, which has some descriptive words for such a sight. We can hear some of these adjectives when the birds first come into view. “Hermosa” doesn’t do the animal justice. “Majestuoso” comes close. “Magnifico” is good. You could almost say this one was conjured with this bird in mind.

I can’t help thinking of that sad condor in captivity in San Diego Zoo. It’s on show for the humans. There is no better indictment on the notion of caging animals for human display.

Adios from Peru


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