When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Beyond The Gorilla Cage, Moral Costs Of The Modern Zoo

The killing of a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo after a toddler fell in his enclosure is just the latest example of the twisted concept of the zoo industry. What lessons for your kids?

An elephant at the Buenos Aires Zoo
An elephant at the Buenos Aires Zoo
Matías Pandolfi


BUENOS AIRES — The world has spent the past week debating the case of a gorilla that was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo after a toddler fell into its enclosure. But over the last year, there has already been plenty of noise about the treatment of animals at zoos in Argentina. A spate of reports about the state of animals kept at the Buenos Aires zoo included the deaths of a baby giraffe, two sea lions and a Patagonian mara, as well as case of a local court ordering the release of an orangutan named Sandra. There was also the very human spectacle of a labor dispute with zoo employees.

City legislators from different parties have visited the zoo in recent months and put forward proposals to change the way it is run. But all of this raises deeper questions about the very nature of the modern zoo.

Pretty or dirty?

Local residents have undertaken symbolic acts of support for SinZoo, an NGO that seeks to end captivity in zoos. The city parliament has proposed two bills on the zoo's scheduled and progressive closure and conversion into an ecological garden devoted to education and the recovery of captive animals, given the fact that Buenos Aires is a big center for animal trafficking.

[rebelmouse-image 27090251 alt="""" original_size="500x375" expand=1]

Lunch in Buenos Aires — Photo: Eliza Curtis

Lately, more bad news has come from Mendoza Zoo, sadly known for the suffering that heat waves inflict every summer on its polar bear, Arturo. There is an unending list of premature deaths here (more than 70 animals have died in the past five months): pumas, deer, parrots, a black panther and rheas. The causes include overcrowding, poisoning and lack of heating. The governor of Mendoza has said he will take action, and has not ruled out the zoo's closure.

What do we expect places like the Buenos Aires or Mendoza zoos to teach us about animals today? A recent study carried out in New York revealed that zoo guides were frustrated by the public's indifference to their educational efforts. They see the average visitor drifting fast through the cages and stopping to see certain baby animals or more exotic species. People seem to describe animals as simply either "pretty" or "dirty."

We should consider the effects on children of visiting a place where they are shown the confinement, loneliness, enslavement, stress and pain of other living creatures, as if this were worthwhile in some way. Where is the justification for so much suffering just to make money — which is what zoos these days are designed to do? Every time we buy an entry ticket, we are an accomplice of this suffering.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Shame On The García Márquez Heirs — Cashing In On The "Scraps" Of A Legend

A decision to publish a sketchy manuscript as a posthumous novel by the late Gabriel García Márquez would have horrified Colombia's Nobel laureate, given his painstaking devotion to the precision of the written word.

Photo of a window with a sticker of the face of Gabriel Garcia Marquez with butterfly notes at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Poster of Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Guadalajara's International Book Fair.

Juan David Torres Duarte


BOGOTÁ — When a writer dies, there are several ways of administering the literary estate, depending on the ambitions of the heirs. One is to exercise a millimetric check on any use or edition of the author's works, in the manner of James Joyce's nephew, Stephen, who inherited his literary rights. He refused to let even academic papers quote from Joyce's landmark novel, Ulysses.

Or, you continue to publish the works, making small additions to their corpus, as with Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett and Clarice Lispector, or none at all, which will probably happen with Milan Kundera and Cormac McCarthy.

Another way is to seek out every scrap of paper the author left and every little word that was jotted down — on a piece of cloth, say — and drip-feed them to publishers every two to three years with great pomp and publicity, to revive the writer's renown.

This has happened with the Argentine Julio Cortázar (who seems to have sold more books dead than alive), the French author Albert Camus (now with 200 volumes of personal and unfinished works) and with the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The latter's posthumous oeuvre is so abundant I am starting to wonder if his heirs haven't hired a ghost writer — typing and smoking away in some bedsit in Barcelona — to churn out "newly discovered" works.

Which group, I wonder, will our late, great novelist Gabriel García Márquez fit into?

Keep reading...Show less

The latest