Well nuts to that. According to those in the know, we had better plead for animals to begin anew to do wild and crazy, ignoble things indoors, like they used to do because, because, well...animals, in zoos for instance, are getting rather plump.
Why? Well, animals have a sweet tooth. Just like us humans. Animals crave stuff that isn’t necessarily good for them. Add in their zoo habitats and habits which, while having come a long way from the steel cage death waits, can - in no way - come close to approaching their wildlife venues - where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play – and where lions must run down said deer and antelope – if lions want to eat that day.
Zoo life spells nothing but trouble for animal health. So how should people ensure animals in captivity don’t let their sweet teeth get the better of them? Sorry, freeing the animals is not an option. They’ve become conditioned to incarceration (and so have we as their fans) and, anyway, how would they cope with some of the truly wild, vile folks that prowl our streets?
One answer is to ration sweets. Animals would be rewarded with Fruit Loops, or its equivalent, if they behave - or much better yet for us exploiters and voyeurs - act loopy.
Get this: animals are being fed junk food to get them to exercise! “…they like sugary, high fat food, and they're not moving as much as they're genetically programmed to, said Jennifer Watts, staff nutritionist at Suburban Brookfield Zoo, west of Chicago." Apparently molasses:
". . . Is a favorite treat of the bears and gorillas. Keepers often spread it around their enclosures to get them moving."
So wouldn’t it be better, for animal and man to have those lions and tigers and bears perform in circuses even if curmudgeons and caterwaulers are offended? At least those routines were rewarded with hand clapping. And applause, don’t forget, is a calorie free possible inducement to exercise.
Another answer: feed the beasts road kill instead of junk food. At the zoo in Toledo, Ohio, wolves dine out on deer “road kill.” This is apparently a better emulation of life in the wild, experts figure, even if a car figured in – in bashing and braising the meal.
Speaking of clapping and animals, and their exercise habits, have you heard of the latest fitness craze invented by the beloved and oh-so-cuddly panda bear? One enterprising, energetic giant panda bear who hangs (not literally) in the Toronto zoo has come up with bear-bogganing. In November of 2014 on a Monday snowy morn, the bear decided to play.
He noticed that his yard had a pretty steep hill, and that the snow was particularly slippery that day. He knew his fur coat and blubbery body were perfect for doing a roly-poly tumble down the hill. Then the bear saw his bamboo and thought, what the hay/hey, I’ll slide down on that too. It’ll be my sled. And a renowned viral video and a round virile body came to be. The panda’s personal best (so far as we can tell from this video) is a double somersault.
Perhaps, however, we should not be too amazed at this bear’s antics. For consider the species itself. A giant panda, when born, weighs about 180 grams – in cooking terms that’s a cup of flour. From that flowering it blooms into big butter ball, no mean feat. Just having mom not squish her babies astounds – almost as much as bear-bogganing does. And talk of virile – did you know that male pandas, even in their late sixties, find fooling around between the bamboo sheets fun, and are fecund enough to procreate? But please, fitness instructors, bear in mind that although the giant panda bear is way cuter than half your clientele, it is a bear and is dangerous, so don’t contemplate contracting it as a client.
Ok, where were we? Right! The sweet tooth. Even pandas have ‘em. Everybody thinks the panda lives on bamboo alone, but they also, at least in zoos, will knock back sugar cane and sweet potatoes in a pinch. Unfortunately, owing to an inefficient digestive system, pandas are always in a pinch and apart from sleeping and lolling about they must forage about half the day looking to chomp comestibles. Us folks only forage half the day while we’re watching TV.
It would seem, therefore, that our learning of animal edible and exercise habits is a process. We don’t have all the answers, but given our nature, we won’t stop looking for solutions to the wildlife’s wild side of eating sugary stuff, on the side. Of course if we were really smart we’d stop pestering them and penning them in the first place, and leave them be, in the great outdoors, in the second.
Now that’d be sweet.