This poor critter lived a pretty hellish existence, and was driven insane by it. The video below shows that fairly clearly. And… you might not want to watch it. It’s not uplifting. This, by the way, is not some reverse psychology to *make* you watch it; it’s like, some years ago, when I told people “don’t Google image search ‘goatse’,” and they did anyway and got all pissy about it. When I say you might not want to watch the sad video of the majestic polar bear that has been driven mad by loneliness and a bad environment… you really might not wanna watch.
When I was a kid, I loved zoos. Since sometime in the mid 1990’s… I freakin’ hate ’em. You’d have to pay me to go. This came about after I visited the National Zoo in D.C. and saw some lonely male rhino that had lost it’s mind… all it did, all day every day, was pace out a path around it’s little dirt yard. It had ground a groove into the ground several inches deep and a couple feet wide. Just… nope. Done.
There are two exceptions to this. One is exemplified by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, which is several shades of awesome. But then, it’s full of fish, and fish ain’t mammals. Second, the type of zoo I’d build.
Instead of the animals being in small enclosures surrounded by walls and gawking goobers, the animals would be in *large* enclosures. The visitors would be *in* the enclosures, not *around* the enclosures. This would be done by having the visitors walking through tunnels criss-crossing the enclosure; the tunnels would be armored and camouflaged concrete and steel structures that would randomly dip underground, and when above ground would be equipped with big, thick, armored windows. The outside of the tunnels would be equipped with good microphones, the inside with good speakers, so visitors could hear the critters… but the critters wouldn’t hear the hairless apes and their screeching offspring. Bang on the window all you want, you’re not going to annoy the tiger or the bear or the T-Rex because it can’t hear you.
Really good zoo designers could have an entirely underground human infrastructure, with above-ground observation posts built into the trunks of fake trees. The trees could even have narrow elevators taking people a few stories up to overhead observation posts.
This would be kinda pricey, I’d imagine