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"Like A War" β€” Earthquake Horror On Italian Front Page

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La Repubblica, Aug.25

At least 247 people have died and 368 were injured in the devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck in the early hours of Wednesday. Small towns and villages were destroyed in the mountainous area where the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche meet in central Italy. The horror of the quake was chronicled on the front page of Italian daily La Repubblica, which compared the situation in cities like Amatrice (pictured) to "a war."

The death toll is likely to rise as rescue teams are still searching for survivors under the rubble.

Italy is no stranger to earthquakes: In 2008, the L'Aquila quake killed over 300 people and in 2012 two tremors nine days apart killed more than 20 people in the northern region of Emilia Romagna.

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A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.

Photograph of a brown monkey holding onto a wired fence

A brown monkey hangs off of mesh wire

Marina Chocobar/Pexels
Fran SΓ‘nchez Becerril


MADRID β€” Zoos β€” or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo β€” date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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