The Oregon Zoo has a history of feeding their predators raw carcasses, which is pretty awesome - and unique for American zoos. Others who have tried this method of feeding have received so much backlash from visitors, who seem to think that it’s too ‘violent’ or gross to watch, that they had to cease doing it.
We like to think we’re a bit more progressive in the Pacific Northwest, but even so, I heard a few people complaining that it was “Barbaric!” and “Disgusting!”, saying that “This is entirely inappropriate for children!” and things of that ilk, even though there were HUGE placards outside the exhibits warning, “RAW FEEDING IN PROGRESS; VIEW AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!”
As for the kids - I sat by the viewing window for at least half an hour, watching crowds of several dozen youngsters walk past and watch the lions as they ate. I heard comments such as, “Wow! Coool!” and “Ew, you can see it’s spine!” but not a single child looked at the scene before them with disgust and wanted to immediately leave. They were fascinated. They watched these animals with wonder and excitement, and put up a fuss when their parents got grossed-out and wanted to continue on before they did.
Thing is, raw feeding is not only healthy and natural for captive predators, it’s also mentally stimulating for them, and greatly educational for visitors who aren’t too squeamish or sheltered to understand it.
"See how he chews with his head to the side?" one father told his young son,. "He’s got teeth in the back of his mouth that work like scissors cutting paper."
"Why don’t I have teeth like that?" the boy asked his dad, making a chomping motion with his own jaws. His dad laughed, and told him, "Well, it’s because you’re not a meat-eater like they are. You eat plants, too. They don’t."
That’s so awesome, it’s a shame so many people would rather have a sanitized image of nature.
I’ve not been to many zoos but at the smaller wildlife parks I’ve been too it’s common practice to chuck in whole dead animals for the predators and there certainly aren’t any warning signs. A few weeks ago I was at a park that hung whole rabbit carcasses from the top of the enclosure for the lynx to leap up and grab, it was fantastic!
I love this. I just don’t understand what people think nature is? These cats brutally murder their prey in the wild. At least these animals have been humanely euthanized.