27 Oct 2008 • 18,456 views
Goodbye Javan Rhino?
I hope not.Lisbon Zoo's
"Mission Statement" is as follows :-
Desenvolver e promover um parque, tanto zoológico como botânico, como um centro de conservação, reprodução e reintrodução no seu habitat natural de espécies em vias de extinção, através da investigação científica e de programas de enriquecimento ambiental. Promover este importante espaço em que aliada Ã educação está uma forte componente de entretenimento e diversão.
Very loosely translated (I do not speak Portuguese
) it means they aim to provide a centre of conservation and breeding for reintroduction into the native habitat for those species facing extinction.
The aim is also to provide educational facilities.
That's what I think zoos are now for - to try to save some species from extinction and also to educate the public so that they understand how important it is. Let me try to explain.
I have seen pictures of Rhinoceroses. I have seen drawings and statues, including those at the Tower of Belem dating from 16th century, but none of these prepared me for my first sight of a real Javan Rhino and oh my, what a magnificent creature it is.
I defy anybody who has ever set eyes on this creature to believe that conservation is a waste of time. I want my grandchildren and my great grandchildren to be able to see these creatures in the wild, and it's places like Lisbon Zoo that will play their part in ensuring it happens.
The Javan Rhino is now on the Red List of Critically Endangered Species
. There are less than 60 surviving in the wild. There are 40-50 in Indonesia and perhaps as few as 5 in Vietnam
The sad thing is that if a Rhino could be a pet some people would be working out how to keep them confined indoors as "house pets" and might even have their toe nails removed because they spoil the carpet. Instead, some of these same people insist that zoos are bad, they forget that there are so few left in that wild breeding on its own is not enough to save the species, and mankind will continue to destroy these particular animals so they can grind down their horns to use as an aphrodisiac. What an appalling waste - viagra is cheaper!.