Monkey mountain as a megazoo: analysing the naturalistic claims of “wild monkey parks” in Japan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In Japan yaen koen or ‘wild monkey parks’ are popular visitor attractions that show free-ranging monkey troops to the paying public. Unlike zoos, which display animals through confinement, monkey parks control the movements of the monkeys through provisioning. The parks project an image of themselves as ‘natural zoos’, claiming to practice a more authentic form of wild animal display than that practiced by the zoo. This article critically evaluates the monkey park’s claim by examining park management of the monkeys. The monkey park’s claim to display ‘wild monkeys’ is shown to be questionable because of the way that provisioning changes monkey behaviour. Against the background of human encroachment onto the forest habitat of the monkey, the long-term effect of provisioning is to sedentarize what were nomadic monkeys and to turn the ‘wild monkey park’ into a megazoo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-264
Number of pages20
JournalSociety and Animals
Volume14 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

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