Let them go Here’s a real surprise. Large zoo animals–polar bears, lions, cheetahs, tigers–are so miserable in zoos that researchers from Oxford University conclude that standard zoo conditions need to be dramatically improved or the animals should be left to roam the wild. I’d opt for letting them remain in the wild. Some animals are fine in captivity, but all the ones you really go to zoos to see–the large ones–are heartbreaking in their apparent claustrophobia and boredom. The Oxford report notes that the typical zoo enclosure for a polar bear is one-millionth the size of its home range in the wild…not to mention the high average temperatures of most zoo locations. Writer David Quammen, in his searing new book Monster of God, reports that the big beasts aren’t doing so well in the wild either. But the wild has to be better than bars. Bleak.

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