“couples fight its normal” yeah susan, but not listening, not compromising and being a complete ass to your significant other isnt normal. neither is fighting repeatedly and all the time. if you spend every day fighting, its not healthy.
Today while working my volunteer shift at tigers, I had a mom and her daughter(probably my age) come up and were looking up at the tigers. The mom pointedly asked if the tiger was unhappy, because he had been pretty focused on the back gate, where the keepers work. I explained to her that because the keepers were nearby that he, like some of our other animals, would become fixated on them and it doesn’t necessarily indicate a distressed or unhappy animal. The mom then says to the daughter “see, do you feel better?” And she must have seen the curiosity on my face because the mom says “she hasn’t been to a zoo in who knows how long, i had to drag her to come.” Indicating that she wasn’t a fan of zoos.
Now up until now the daughter hadn’t made eye contact at all and just looked unhappy to be there. Because her obvious perception was that the animals were bored and unhappy, I started explaining the different enrichment we use, the fact we use perfumes and spices like cinnamon to keep them stimulated. And she laughed in surprise for the first time and looked at me: “wait really?” And I went on to explain training and even our ultrasound trained polar bear, our conservation efforts, our nonprofit status, and finally that she was contributing to us helping save species just by coming. She was helping us save the very tiger that she was concerned for at the beginning, and I thanked her for helping us save tigers and so so many other animals from extinction. By the end of it, she was moved to tears and hugged me, thanking me for changing her view on zoos, and that she’d had no idea we were making such an impact.
This is exactly why I do this. This is why good zoos matter. And this is what keeps me working towards my zoo career.