John Knight 1 Monkey Mountain as a Megazoo: Analyzing the Naturalistic Claims of “Wild Monkey Parks” in Japan ABSTRACT In Japan, yaen ko¯ en or “wild monkey parks” are popular visitor attractions that show free-ranging monkey troops to the paying public. Unlike zoos, which display nonhuman animals through confinement, monkey parks control the movements of the mon- keys through provisioning. The parks project an image of them- selves as “natural zoos,” claiming to practice a more authentic form of displaying animals-in-the-wild than that practiced by the zoo. This ar ticle critically evaluates the monkey park’s claim by examining park management of the monkeys. The ar ticle shows the monkey park’s claim to display wild monkeys to be ques- tionable because of the way that provisioning changes monkey behavior. Against the background of human encroachment onto the forest habitat of the monkey, the long-term effect of provi- sioning is to sedentarize nomadic monkey animals and to turn the wild monkey park into a megazoo. Zoos are institutions that claim to display nonhu- man animals-in-the-wild to the public. However, one of the main criticisms of the zoo involves the dena- turing effect of zoo life on animals in the zoo,
Society & Animals – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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