Photo of the Week | Salamander – Inside China’s Zoos - Sean Gallagher - Photographer & Filmmaker | Beijing, China

Photo of the Week | Salamander – Inside China’s Zoos

Posted by on Mar 9, 2010 in Editorial Photography | No Comments

A Giant Salamander in Wuhan Zoo. 2008

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way that it treats its animals” – Mohandas Gandhi

In March of 2008, I was travelling down China’s greatest river, the Yangtze. Passing through the city of Wuhan, I happened upon the city’s zoo one day and was shocked by the conditions in which the animals were being kept. As a result, I returned to the city a few weeks later in order to photograph the various animals in an attempt to convey the appalling conditions in which they were living.

China has a mixed record in the way in which it treats its animals. From the use of animal parts for Chinese medicine to the new conservation efforts to protect tigers (as a result of  this year being the year of the tiger), it seems confusing whether animals are valued or not. Maybe attitudes are changing. A quick trip to the  zoo in Wuhan will certainly dispel you optimism for change however.

In this week’s ‘Photo of the Week’, a Giant Salamander is kept in the zoo’s aquatic house in a cramped and shallow pool. As visitors pass the pool, they throw coins in an attempt to make them land on top of the Salamander. This is done supposedly to bring the visitors luck and fortune.

To view more images from this series of animals such as crocodiles, lions and bears and the awful conditions in which they live in, please visit my portfolio site and follow Index>China>Lockdown-Inside China’s Zoos

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