WesternGuy wrote:...As for the second set - having seen these animals in the wild, I am sometimes a bit saddened by our attempt to humanize wild creatures, but I also recognize that this is often the only contact that some folks will have with them and it creates an awareness that people might not have otherwise, so mixed emotions for me.
I can see both sides of the discussion when it comes to animals in captivity and animal shows. The Saint Louis Zoo, like many these days, are no longer just about putting animals in cages and collecting a fee. They put a lot of time, money, and effort into wildlife study and research. They've been heavily involved in helping some of the threatened and endangered critters and reintroducing them back into the wild.
The sea lion show does have them acting a bit silly and human, but on the other hand, it taught the audience about the difference between seals and sea lions, their diet, how we could help by changing some of or fish diet, and the hazards of our plastics in their environment and ways we can change that. It may not be natural, but it does also keep their minds and bodies active.