Life of Pi - chapter 2
Before my father moved to Pondicherry, he owned a hotel in Madras. He had always loved animals, however, and in Pondicherry, he decided to open a zoo. Running a zoo is not easy for a hotelkeeper. The ‘guests’ never leave their rooms and they receive visitors all day long. There is a lot of cleaning to do because they don’t use bathrooms. My father loved the Pondicherry Zoo, but he worried about it too.
I loved growing up in a zoo. The lions woke me at six every morning, roaring loudly. As I ran for the school bus, a sleepy orangutan waved to me. After school, the elephant searched my pockets for fruit.
People often think animals in the wild are ‘happy’ because they are ‘free’. They imagine a lion. It watches an African sunset, sitting proudly with its family under a beautiful tree. Then bad men catch it and put it in a small cage in a zoo. It sits in its new prison and thinks sadly about its old life.
This is not the way it is.
Animals in the wild never have enough food. They must fight every day to keep their home and they get sick. Are they free?
In the wild, an animal has its own territory where it can find food and water, and avoid danger. A zoo cage is just another territory. Food appears every day, there is always water and there is no need to go hunting. The animal does not feel like a prisoner. It feels like a landowner.
But I know many people think zoos are a bad thing. Close down all the zoos if you want to. Anyway, Pondicherry Zoo no longer exists.
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