How NOT to deal with a Timber Wolf


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Apr 11, 2007
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You all know I have a website where I take pictures of zoos. For the most part we have found public zoos to be professionally run, the animals well kept and healthy. We have also found that zoos that have inadequate caging that are in the process of improving as quickly as they can.

And then, occasionally, we come to zoos that are, frankly, houses of horror.

Here is an example of one of these.

Clay Center KS is an absolutely horrible zoo.

We knew this before we went there. We actually drove to this zoo to use it as an illustration on our website of how NOT to run a zoo. The cages are small, inadequate and generally completely bare. Most of the animals live their entire lives in total isolation in a cement floored pen with no enrichment whatever.

This zoo is run, believe it or not, by the local power company (people who, obviously, have no idea how a zoo should be run). Not only are the cages inadequate, but they are unsafe for visitors. We saw children leaning over fences feeding WOLVES for heaven’s sake (pictured, I blurred the faces to protect the ignorant). Let me be PERFECTLY clear, there are pictures here of OTHER people baiting/feeding the animals, we had NOTHING to do with that... we just took pictures of what was going on there.

This facility should be closed immediately... if you are in Northeast Kansas and want to go to a zoo, for goodness sake drive to Manhattan and avoid the awful Clay Center Zoo at all costs.

Somebody LET ME OUT!

This poor bear lives in a cage too small for it to even walk around in, with nothing but concrete and steel.

Pictures from last summer, I am just getting organized for the new year and I was sorting through last year's stuff and looking at this horrible little zoo made me mad all over again.
:( This is very sad. How unfortunate for these poor animals.
I've been to a similar zoo. It is unfortunate.
I had so hoped that zoos of this kind were a thing from the past, now long gone, and the situation changed for the much better --- apparently this is not the case. How sad.
And how good of you to go out and capture this bad situation in photos as to let people know where things are NOT good.
But what will happen if less and less people go there, less income for that sad "zoo" by fewer and fewer visitors ... who will then feel responsible enough to give these animals an ADEQUATE new home, when giving them a home now doesn't seem that important to those who run the zoo just now?
You can tell that the place is run by a power company believe it or not just by the structures. they are all built in the same fasion and with the same fencing types used to keep people out of power relays and transformer stations. That is pathetic.

You ever been to the Buffalo Zoo in New York?

I ask because I might get an oppertunity to get up there this summer and never having been there I don't know if it'll be worth lugging the gear up and around.
you know I bet if it was an independent owner you could have the place shut down in moments - or if they were home owned animals and not part of a zoo. Its terrible to think that the animals are kept daily in such conditions - heck with all that concrete is must mess up paws/legs no end (especailly as many animals will resort to pacing).

Heck that wolf looks attention starved by the way he is reacting - and I don't see another wolf in the cage (unless it was out of shot)

I suppose the worst thing is as laFoto pointed out - if you try to shut the place down or criple it with a campagin one has to consider what will happen to the animals - will the electical company be forced to find alternative homes for them or would they just call it a lost income source and call the vet :( Sadly I think the latter might be their choice)
I should have mentioned it in my post, there is no admissions fee. It is free, open to the public daily and is being done as "a public service" by the utility.
I guess since it makes them no money they can't be bothered much with investing more into it?
from the first post I thought it was a shot from a dog rehoming centre (or in it case a wolf rehoming one) since those sorts of cages are more common in such places - however many make an effort to get the animals out on walks and there is always hope that they will get rehomed.
For this to be home for life without any chance of release or rehoming *unless the centre takes part in zoo exchange programs* its horrible!

Has anything been tried to get standards improved?
I sure hope this place gets shut down and those animals get placed in a better environment. It would give me great pleasure to place the "humans" responsible for this in those cages.
Is that not illegal in the US? I'd have thought some sort of legal protection would be afforded to any captive wild animal - sounds like that's not the case though.
I"d send the pictures to the mayor and/or congressmen. It's disgusting..
Surely something can be done about that relatively easy nowadays with the laws/organizations out there. You mentioned the zoo in Manhattan. I lived there when I was a kid, and have a great photo of buffalo at the zoo. I have held onto it all this time and it and another one of parrots are what made me want to get into photography. It only took me 23 years to get serious about it. Better late than never.

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