Redefining Our Antiquated Zoos

 picture of two Green Macaws

In 2014, two Costa Rica zoos will be converted into open-space wildlife conservation centers – photo from

Both the Simón Bolívar Zoo in Barrio Amón in San José, Costa Rica and the Conservation Center of Santa Ana, Costa Rica will close down in May 2014.

According to a MINAE press release, the Simón Bolívar Zoo will be turned into a biological education center, and the conservation center will become a 51-hectare (106 acre) forest preserve.

Antiquated Zoos

A picture of a sad Orangutan in a caged zoo pen.

The capturing and caging of animals in zoos is outdated. Captive animals deserve to be in open-spaces provided by conservation centers and wildlife sanctuaries.

“Zoos” are antiquated and outdated examples of mankind’s arrogance and ignorance. These are strong words, but an accurate opinion shared by most conservationists.

Modern-day zoos are knee-deep in budgets, bureaucracy and politics – ALL of which have NO benefit for the animals.

Yes, it is important for all of us to see, touch, hear, and smell wild animals from other parts of the world.  It is crucial that we teach our children about all living things that are sharing our planet – I agree.  BUT, it is not a human right to “capture” and “imprison” other life-forms and contain them within tiny cages and metal bars.

An arial photo of the tortoise santuary

Open-spaces for the endangered tortoises at the North Texas Tortoise Sanctuary and Conservation Center.

The right thing to do is keep captive bred wildlife and animals within an open-space environment that mocks the wild. They will not know that they are not “home”, and humans can educate one another on the importance of our “neighbors” without turning them into “side-show prisoners.”

Zoos are out-of-date, and independent wildlife sanctuaries and conservation centers are the way for our future!

A picture of a tortoise facility in Florida.

Greg Lindley’s open-space, affiliate captive breeding Aldabra facility in SW Florida – this is the type of environment all captured animals thrive in – not in a caged zoo.

Setting Our Captives Free

The Costa Rican zoos’ animals, which include monkeys, a jaguar and an African lion, will be distributed throughout the country’s animal rescue centers – no bars, no small cages, no more confinement.  These animals will be “protected” within open spaces and natural food sources.

If you want to see a 700 pound Aldabra tortoise from the Mauritius Islands off Madagascar, don’t ooh and ahh over that precious animal that’s cooped up in a small, concreted zoo pen – promote the natural conservation centers that house these rare and magnificent animals within open spaces, and support the wildlife sanctuaries that place these special creatures in natural environments.

How would you feel if you were captured and forced to spend your life as a novelty for people to stare at every day as they rattle your cage ….. ?


If Bees Are Endangered, Humans Are Endangered

Honey bees are an endangered species now because of human beings, and honey bees are a critical key to our survival. So, if bees are endangered, WE ARE ENDANGERED.

Here is an excellent article from Waking Times by April McCarthy that you can share. It is clear that European countries, and just about every other country in the world except for the USA, are making positive strides to help our natural ecosystem survive extinction from farm and lawn chemicals that are mass marketed by big corporations like Monsanto.

It’s Time To Protect Our Bees

July 23, 2013 | By 

Flickr - bee - wwarby

EU commissioners, Capitol Hill and international agencies are finally taking notice to mass bee deaths around the world. A few months after the groundbreaking decision to suspend the use of three neonicotinoids shown to be highly toxic to bees, the European Commission is moving forward again with a proposal to restrict the use of the insecticide fipronil, which has also been identified as posing an acute risk to honey bees. America’s imperiled pollinators will also soon receive long overdue protection after a new bill passes aimed to suspend neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides that are killing bees.

Simple, straightforward and commonsense protections have not been updated for more than 20 years. In February 2013, Beyond Pesticides joined with a coalition of environmental and farmworker organizations to submit a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency implement these long overdue revisions to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). An estimated 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops annually in the United States, and farmworkers face the greatest threat from these chemicals than any other sector of society, with thousands of farmworkers each year experiencing pesticide poisoning.

The federal government estimates that there are 10,000-20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among workers in the agricultural industry annually, a figure that likely understates the actual number of acute poisonings since many affected farmworkers may not seek care from a physician. As a result of cumulative long-term exposures, they and their children, who often times also work on the farm or live nearby, are at risk of developing serious chronic health problems such as cancer, neurological impairments and Parkinson’s disease. Children, according to a recent American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report, face even greater health risks compared to adults when exposed to pesticides.

The United States is lagging behind our European neighbors when it comes to the protection of pollinator health. Earlier this year, the EU announced a two-year suspension on these bee-killing pesticides. Now it’s time for the U.S. to act.

A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific risk assessment, published on May 27, 2013, found that seeds treated with pesticides containing fipronil pose an acute risk to Europe’s honey bee population. According to this assessment, it was found that fipronil poses a high acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for corn. Specifically, EFSA concluded that high acute risk from dust drift resulting from treated corn exists, and identified several data gaps and study limitations for other field crops. Data on nectar and pollen could not be evaluated.

23 Member States supported the fipronil restriction, 2 Member States voted against and 3 Member States abstained during the standing committee vote. This latest EU-wide restriction comes in the wake of a recent Commission decision to restrict the use of three pesticides that belong to the neonicotinoid family — imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which will come into force on December 1, 2013 as well as a guidance document on a risk assessment of plant protection products on bees published by EFSA on July 12, 2013.

The EU Proposal

The EU’s proposed measure does the following:

  • Restricts the crops where fipronil can be used as a seed treatment;
  • Authorizations may be granted for the treatment of seeds that will only be sown in greenhouses. However, this exception does not apply to leeks, shallots, onions and brassica vegetables (such as brussel sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli), where treated seeds can also be sown in the field, as the harvest of these crops takes place before flowering;
  • The treatment of maize and sunflower seeds will no longer be authorized.

According to Beyond Pesticides’ BEE Protective campaign, outside the neonicotinoid class of insecticides, fipronil has been heavily implicated in elevated bee toxicity and decline. The chemical is widely used for indoor and turf pest control in the U.S., and is a generation of insecticide that is highly toxic. Fipronil has been shown to reduce behavioral function and learning performances in honeybees. One 2011 French study reported that newly emerged honey bees exposed to low doses of fipronil and thiacloprid succumbed more readily to the parasite Nosema ceranaecompared to healthy bees, supporting the hypothesis that the synergistic combination of parasitic infection and high pesticide exposures in beehives may contribute to colony decline. An extensive overview of the major studies showing the effects of pesticides on pollinator health can be found on Beyond Pesticides’ What the Science Show webpage.

So what is the U.S. doing? The Save America’s Pollinators Act will suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until a full review of scientific evidence and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators.

“For over a decade now, honey bees have been suffering rapid population losses as a result of a phenomenon known as ‘colony collapse disorder.’ Another decade of these mass die-offs will severely threaten our agricultural economy and food supply. Scientists have reported that common symptoms of this decline are attributed to the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. The ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act’ will address this threat to honey bee populations by suspending the use of certain neonicotinoids and by requiring the EPA to conduct a full review of the scientific evidence before allowing the entry of other neonicotinoids into the market.”

About the Author

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.


Butterfly Migration Threatened

A picture of a beautiful Monarch butterfly getting a drink of water.

A beautiful Monarch butterfly getting a drink of water.

It’s butterfly season, so start watching for these incredible creatures to flitter around your yard.

Did You Know About Butterflies?

  • A caterpillar’s first meal is its own eggshell.
  • There are about 17,500 species of butterflies throughout the world.
  • Butterfly wings are covered with overlapping rows of tiny scales.
  • Butterflies are found everywhere in the world except on the continent of Antarctica.
  • Most butterflies migrate relatively short distances, except for a few species like the Monarchs that migrate thousands of miles.
  • From egg to adult, butterflies undergo a series of physical transformations known as metamorphosis.
  • The exact number of butterfly species is not known.
  • Most brightly colored butterfly species have toxic chemicals in their bodies for protection.

Threat Of Survival

The greatest threats to butterflies are a habitat change, and this loss is due to human residential, commercial and agricultural development. Climate change does not endanger butterflies because they migrate to better climates, but again, humans get in the way. As butterflies migrate, or attempt to migrate to better climates, their progress is blocked by the vast urban landcapes of major metro areas. Because of concrete cities and sprawling human development, many migrating butterfly species now face danger of extinction in the wild.

How You Can Help

A picture of a hand holding a glowing earth globe in his hand with a butterfly on the globe.

Help protect Nature’s butterflies

Get active in local development, and encourage the construction of more Greenbelt communities as opposed to multi-living, tightly-packed housing developments with no trees or yards. Discourage spending more municipal funds on concreting bigger highways and taller bridges, and support more mass transit designs and walking/biking trails. Plant butterfly bushes in your gardens, and plant more trees!

The next time you see a beautiful butterfly, stop for a moment to watch it play in the wind.