As society has taken a more progressive stance toward animal welfare over recent decades, many people are questioning the purpose of zoos and aquariums. In an op-ed published in the New York Times in June, environmental writer Emma Marris contends that modern zoos should find a new path—ending the practice of breeding animals for display and focus on conservation breeding programs and perhaps acting as sanctuaries for animals that cannot live in the wild.
She argues that the evidence showing that visiting zoos and aquariums inspires people to actively support conservation efforts is weak at best. Those who work in the zoo and aquarium world say this does not paint the full picture. So why is the Aquarium of the Pacific inviting Marris to come and speak? Aquarium President and CEO Dr. Peter Kareiva believes listening to and having a conversation with Marris and others with different views helps zoos and aquariums improve, evolve, and better communicate the importance of their mission and values.
Marris will present a lecture at the Aquarium and discuss her book, Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World. Wild Souls examines several questions surrounding animal welfare and conservation science. When is it right to capture or feed wild animals for the good of their species? How do we balance the rights of introduced species with those already established within an ecosystem? Can hunting be ecological? Are any animals truly wild on a planet that humans have so thoroughly changed?
After her talk, she will participate in a discussion led by Dr. Kareiva that will further explore the role zoos and aquariums serve in connecting people with nature. It will allow both sides of the issue to exchange views and perhaps evolve their beliefs. There will be an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions and participate. A book signing and cocktail/social hour will follow the presentation.
Sponsor: Courtyard Long Beach Downtown
Cost: The lecture is FREE. Advance reservations required to reserve your seat in the theater.
Location: Aquarium of the Pacific, Ocean Theater, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, 90802 / Presentation will be live streamed at: aquariumofpacific.org/news/lectures
Info/Tickets: (562) 590-3100 or aquariumofpacific.org/events/info/wild_souls_freedom_and_flourishing_in_the_non_human_world/