Outside of zoos and pet shops, I have rarely seen wild animals kept in cages in public spaces in Japan. I do remember bears caged in an Ainu Village in Hokkaido some years ago, but it came as something of a shock to see red-faced Japanese macaques imprisoned in a cage in Nagahama Castle Park on the shores of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.
The smell of animals' faeces and urine was strong as the wind blew in from the lake and the monkeys did not look happy nor, one of them, in the best of health.
Next to the monkeys was an empty cage. The sign posted on the wire explained that the cage had held a deer in captivity for 22 years and it had recently died.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008