By David Grazian
Orangutans swing from Kevlar-lined fireplace hoses. Giraffes ceremonial dinner on celebratory birthday muffins crowned with carrots rather than candles. Hi-tech dinosaur robots growl between metal timber, whereas owls watch lively cartoons on outdated tv units. In American Zoo, sociologist David Grazian takes us on a safari throughout the modern zoo, alive with its many contradictions and unusual wonders.
Trading in his tweed jacket for a zoo uniform and a couple of muddy paintings boots, Grazian introduces us to zookeepers and animal rights activists, mom and dad and tots, and the opposite human primates that make up the zoo's social global. He exhibits that during an immense shift clear of their unlucky pasts, American zoos at the present time emphasize naturalistic indicates teeming with lush and immersive landscapes, breeding courses for endangered animals, and enrichment actions for his or her captive creatures. In doing so, zoos blur the imaginary limitations we frequently use to split tradition from nature, people from animals, and civilization from the wild. whilst, zoos deal with a wasteland of competing priorities--animal care, schooling, medical study, and recreation--all whereas trying to function facilities for conservation within the wake of the present environmental and climate-change difficulty. the realm of the zoo displays how we venture our personal prejudices and needs onto the animal country, and make investments nature with that means and sentiment.
A revealing portrayal of comedian animals, thrilled young ones, and feisty zookeepers, American Zoo is a amazing close-up exploration of a vintage cultural appeal.
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Extra resources for American Zoo: A Sociological Safari
They’ve been living comfortably among NatureMaker Steel Art trees for years. Look closely and you’ll see painstakingly-sculpted impressions of real bark with all its natural anomalies. Step back and sense the grandeur of the tree’s presence. What could be more important to educators, museum administrators, librarians—anyone whose vocation is to educate? The curious always inhabit the confluence where art and nature intersect. NatureMaker truly sees the forest for the trees. Steel trees help zoos simulate environments that neither elephants, rhinoceroses, orangutans, nor gorillas can easily destroy, all while saving on expenses such as pest control, irrigation, and drainage.
However, at zoos flamingos enjoy a more managed diet of grain that often does not include shrimp, which would therefore make their feathers exhibit a pale pink or even white coloration—if not for the fact that many zoos now feed their flamingos pellets with extra beta-keratin, simply so that they will retain their pinkish hue. 47 Birds Do It, Bees Do It, Even Educated Fleas Do It A final set of stagecraft strategies employed in naturalistic zoo exhibition involves the censoring of certain animal behaviors and husbandry practices from public view in the interests of masking some of the more aesthetically unpleasant or uncomfortable aspects of zoo work and biological reality.
Glass, obviously, is one of the best ways to do that. So a lot of thinking goes into it, as you can imagine. We hire glazing engineers, glass engineers that we say, “Okay, we have a four-hundred-pound gorilla that could be running at this thing at twenty miles an hour, can you help us out? ” Usually this exhibit’s glazing is several pieces of glass laminated together, so it may be two or Where the Wild Things Aren’t • 23 three (usually we don’t get above three layers), but those layers of glass can be anywhere from a quarter-inch thick to a half-inch more thick with a membrane in between them to help adhere it, and actually the membrane gives it a little bit of strength as well.
American Zoo: A Sociological Safari by David Grazian