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Downtown Stride Zebra: Zoo Environmental Living Condition
  • By Park ChaeHyun, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2023.04.10 09:17
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▲ On March 23, the zebra Sero who escaped from Seoul Children's Grand Park is walking around the city center (Source: Yonhap News)

On the afternoon of March 23, a male zebra named, Sero, walked around the city center after fleeing the zoo at Seoul Children's Grand Park. An official at Seoul Children's Grand Park said, Sero is a zebra born in 2021 at Children's Grand Park and escaped after damaging the wooden deck installed in the enclosure by itself. Officials at Seoul Children's Grand Park, fire, and police carried out anesthesia work after installing safety fences, then the zebra Sero returned to the zoo three hours after fleeing. Not only this incident, but also other cases of zoo escapes in Korea are constantly mentioned. Six elephants escaped from Children's Grand Park in 2005 and walked around the city for about four hours. In addition, four years ago, they even mobilized a helicopter to capture the puma, Porong, of Daejeon O'World, but was eventually killed.

After Sero escaped from Seoul Children's Grand Park, the sad story of Sero was told to the public. Unlike horses and donkeys, zebras are not domesticated and live in groups on the African continent. In the video clip of the Seoul Facilities Corporation's YouTube channel posted in January, the young Sero trusted and relied on his parents to the extent that he was nicknamed, 'Parents' Chewing.' Sero, in his youth, was living alone after losing his mother in 2021 and his father last year. After his parents were deceased, the bereaved Sero began to rebel, and he fought with a neighboring kangaroo. The zookeepers in the video prepared apples and carrots as a special measure for Sero. However, Sero refused it coldly and was sensitive. For this reason, zookeepers have expected the improvement of Sero through continuous stimulation, such as handing toys and snacks to Sero, but Sero eventually escaped from the zoo. According to Heo Ho- jung, a zookeeper at Seoul Children's Grand Park, on March 24, "Currently, Sero is physically healthy after returning to the zoo, but is completely upset and waiting for the door to open without eating snacks." An official from Seoul Children's Grand Park said, "We plan to do our best to prevent a recurrence in the future by closely investigating the cause of his escape. Veterinarians and zookeepers in charge of the Grand Park will be taking care of Sero's health." In addition, in order to improve the treatment of Sero, he said, "We will raise the existing 1.3m fence and change our zebra fence from wood to iron within the first half of this year." Furthermore, he mentioned, "Next year, we will bring a female zebra and pair her with Sero."

The calls for improving the zoo environment or abolishing the zoo altogether have been consistently mentioned, especially among animal rights groups. Internet users expressed regret that zebras, which are supposed to stay in grasslands in Africa, were trapped in zoos, in the wake of the zebra's escape disturbance on March 23. Many articles criticizing the zoo's environment have also been posted on the website of the Seoul Facilities Corporation. Netizens argue that, "the zebra that escaped into the middle of the city is not strange, but the fact that it is a zoo itself is a remnant of an era when there was no concept of animal rights, and the environment should be improved or the animals sent overseas to wild animal shelters." In addition, various opinions were suggested, such as, "We need to set up an animal trail at the zoo and let Sero stay where zebra friends are until he meets his girlfriend."

According to Shin Nam- sik, an honorary professor at Seoul National University's Veterinary College, "If animals who have spent a long time in the zoo return to the wild, they have to learn everything, such as how to find food or protect themselves." It is hoped that social awareness of animal rights and animal welfare will increase in the wake of Sero's great escape from the zoo. In addition, we hope that Sero will continue his happy daily life under the love and attention of zookeepers in the future.

By Park ChaeHyun, cub-reporter  parkch2582@naver.com

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