Before having this trip to the London Zoo, I was hoping that I could witness how an international-grade zoo would look like. I always believe interesting, beneficial places like a zoo or an aquarium, which could provide children with biological and conservational knowledge, will become a magnet that brings youngsters closer to nature, and help them break away from their bad habits of sitting in front of the screen all day long.
I would love to look more closely at the role of zoos and aquaria in modern societies, their spatial and visual design, and the most appropriate, modern, and humane path to develop them in the future. Last year, the image of starved and emaciated bears desperately begging visitors for food in an Indonesian zoo has caused waves of outrage among web communities and media. At this very moment in South East Asia, particularly Vietnam, there are still many zoos and individual wildlife exhibits with unacceptable living conditions for the animals: bears moping about on filthy floors; tigers kept in cramped iron cages; monkeys and apes living with each other inside unkempt, disheveled pens. Indeed, countries and organizations should only build zoos and aquaria if they can meet the minimum requirements for the kept animals's wellbeing, such as living space, food supply, hygiene etc. )
My expectation was that London Zoo must be as incredible as depicted in Holywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park or Finding Dory. However, I was quite disappointed to see the animals still look very sad inside the cages and behind bars, and the area for them to play in was nothing compared to the freedom of the wilderness. The only areas that excited me a bit was the caterpillar house and penguin’s pool; however the whole trip still made me raise a question of whether or not animals should be held like this, which I am happy to answer by developing this project and the third following project.