Take the challenge, watch the videos without the sound as instructed. Think about what you see, then watch the videos again with the volume turned on. Listen to the people in the background. Allowing children to provoke wild animals in enclosed environments is a form of animal abuse. This type of behavior may support some opinion that captive animals kept in zoological parks does not serve any educational purpose, is purely entertainment and does not encourage respect for other animals and their lives.
I have no problems with that when it’s the photographer or filmmaker who pays the price for this selective attentiveness. But when this orientation causes parents to distance themselves from a reality that could harm their children, then to me it crosses the line into the realm of child neglect. And when adults position their younger children in such a way to provoke an animal or allow their older kids to do so for the sake of a good photo or film op, we can add animal abuse to their offenses.
For many children living in western societies, zoos may represent their only chance to see wild creatures from other parts of the world, or those from their own areas whose habitats are threatened or endangered by human encroachment. When we assume the active role of teacher and co-learner instead of that of a passive film-maker, we can teach them far more about animals than any cute videos we adults may want to share with our friends. True, it does require more effort. On the other hand, the future of that wildlife rests with future generations as well as our own. And the more we do to teach kids to respect it, the better.
Read entire commentary via Call of the Wild or Wrong Number?.