A few years ago for my birthday I went to a place in Sonoma County called “Safari West.” This is a 400-acre wildlife preserve with over 800 different exotic animals. Each group is led by jeep through hills and valleys on the hunt for wildlife. Now, you may or may not see a zebra that day, after all nature is unpredictable.
After feeling the guilt of supporting a business that profits by exploiting animals, I researched Safari West a little searching for redeeming qualities. Their website states, “If your only experience with a zebra or giraffe has been at a zoo, you should see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. You owe it to yourself, and to them.” I’m pretty sure zebras and giraffes are from Africa, so does Sonoma County, CA constitute as their “natural habitat”?
Compared to large amusement parks like Six Flags Discovery Kingdom or SeaWorld these animals have the good life. Still, even though these animals are able to roam across 400-acres they are still confined. An environment where daily jeep rides plow through the habitat of exotic animals is better than a place like SeaWorld, but still not ok.
Is there ever a “good” environment for animals in captivity? Does more acreage and fewer fences make it ok to exploit wildlife?