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Thursday
May172012

« Zebra Research Journal: Common Myths Dispelled »

A lot of you folks may not know this about me, but I am actually a Zoologist with an expert focus on Zebras. I am looking at a Zebra right now and enjoying its presence in every possible way; I'm petting it, feeding it, and riding it all around the Zoo. You may not have seen a Zebra in a long time or perhaps ever in your life, but they undoubtedly exist.

Zebras are an endangered species, but they are far from extinct. Countries besides the USA have far more Zebras than we do, and the Zebra population has even seen tremendous growth in recent years in countries such as India and China.

As a Zebra lover, there are a few things I occasionally hear that don't make any sense when I want to talk about my favorite animal with other people.

1) Zebras are extinct.

Fact: There are fewer Zebras than there were before, but they're far from extinct. People who care about this species have taken great care to nourish them and allow them to enjoy healthy lives. As long as people like us are around, Zebras are not going anywhere. The strangest thing is that mainstream media has been spreading false propaganda that Zebras are extinct. This is patently untrue; here is a picture of a Zebra taken just yesterday. Looks great, doesn't she?

It seems that the media have been latching on to false rumors like these because a lot of them have been sponsored by dog food and cat food companies. For some reason, they're scared that people would stop buying dog and cat supplies if everybody knew that there were still Zebras to admire in so many places, but it's absurd to think that people would actually get rid of their dogs and cats and replace them with Zebras!

It's extremely strange that these outlets have such a grudge with Zebras, but I suppose it's hard to talk about something when you know nothing about it. That's why there are Zebra experts like me to help set the record straight. Many writers in pet media have never actually been to the Zoo to see a Zebra in person; it's not an animal you would typically take home with you, after all.

2) What's a Zebra?

Fact: You know what a Zebra looks like, and you even know that Zebras are mammals. You've read about them in books and seen them on TV since you were a child. You have an idea of what they're like, but you may have never seen one in person and admired this majestic beast's beauty with your own eyes. Pretending to not know what a Zebra is isn't making a point, it just makes you look condescending and insecure.

3) Zebras are already completely extinct in Japan.

Fact: Japan is still home to over 20,000 Zoos which house over 400,000 Zebras. The Zebra population has seen a slight decline in recent years with a few notable Zoo closures, but new ones are still being built and opened every year. If you think Japan's Zebra ecosystem is going anywhere, you'd be out of your mind; they've had pets at home for just as long as we have, yet animal lovers of all ages in Japan have still been lining up to pet and play with Zebras.

4) Zebras are pointless. I'd rather they all go extinct.

This is perhaps the most ridiculous phrase I hear uttered about Zebras. They're an important part of our ecosystem in the animal kingdom, which is why people like myself have fought for years and made progress in their adaptation in the current environment. These animals do require a certain climate to survive, but many areas in the world can absolutely support their continued existence with proper care.

What's even more peculiar is that there are people in Zebra-hotspots that see Zebras every week, yet still deny their importance in the animal kingdom. Tell me, how can you go to the Zoo every week and tell me those Zebras aren't still being looked at, admired and petted?


Keeping Our Eyes Open

If you acknowledge all the facts about Zebras, you'll realize that they actually haven't gone anywhere. If you're a big animal lover like myself, why would you actively choose not to support the Zebra population with an occasional visit to the Zoo? I understand a lot of you have dogs and cats at home (I do as well) but the Zebra is such a unique creature that it really requires a different kind of attention. I think that Zebras can make us feel something special in our hearts when we make a connection with them. It's really satisfying to be a part of the animal kingdom with their coexistence.

Some people are happy with just dogs and cats at home, and that's just fine, but some of us really love all of the world's wonderful creatures and admire them for the great things that they are. The animal-lover in me spreads to multiple species, including the great Zebra.

If you close your eyes and proclaim to the world that there are no Zebras, or that Zebras have no purpose because dogs and cats are domestic pets available to any person who desires one, you are simply lying to yourself, just as you can't make the world flat just by wishing it to be so in your head. It's time to join the rest of us with something experts in the field already know: Zebras are going to continue existing as a species for a long time, and will likely do so well past our own lifespans.

For those who seek more fulfillment and excitement in their lives, I challenge you to take a short break from your domestic pets and enjoy a visit to the Zoo. The Zebra is a truly amazing creature, but you must leave home to experience and understand them for yourself. It's the difference between a pow-wow and a safari!

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