Exhibition brings emotional lives of animals to zoos across China, fostering respect and empathy for all species

27 July 2018

One Life poster exhibition stresses the rich emotional lives of animals to increase compassion and reduce demand for wild animal products.

Just like us, elephants grieve, tigers play and chimpanzees learn – these are just some of the lessons at a new exhibition touring China’s zoos.

After generations of seeing animals as a national resource to be exploited, the new awareness-raising drive wants the public to see animals for what they are – sentient, emotional individuals with complex needs and desires, just like us.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:

“It’s not enough to come to the zoo to be entertained, we want visitors to learn and make a connection with the amazing animals they have the privilege to see. If we can help people make the connection between their own individuality and the one life of these sentient animals, then empathy and compassion for all species will be able to grow. Doing so will be vital to reduce demand for the wild animal products which are driving so many iconic species to extinction.”

Family reading posters

From June 23 to July 22, the One Life posters were on exhibit in the Education Centre of Beijing Zoo – the country’s oldest and most prestigious, visited by six million people every year.

The exhibition will now move to Shijiazhuang Zoo in the north-eastern province of Hebei before moving on again later in the year to Taiyuan library in Shanxi province and ending the year in Zhengzhou Zoo, Henan.

As well as raising awareness of animal welfare with the general public, Animals Asia works with zoos in Vietnam and China to improve standards and boost welfare for the animals in their care.

Crowd at One Life exibition Beijing Zoo

In the last three months, the Hong Kong-based charity has:

  • Provided experts to speak on giraffe welfare at a China Zoo Association workshop  at Dalian Zoo attended by over 130 zoo staff
  • Provided expert trainers for a China Zoo Association elephant management workshop for over 30 elephant keepers at Kunming Zoo
  • Advised Beijing and Taiyuan zookeepers on care for chimpanzees – including infants
  • Carried out numerous enclosure improvements for animals at Hanoi Zoo in cooperation with the Hanoi zookeepers
  • Advised elephant carers on improved welfare at the Elephant Conservation Centre in Vietnam·  

Dave said:

“Literally thousands of animals across Asia endure sub-standard care at captive animal facilities such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums and circuses. We will never turn away from an animal in need and will work wherever need is greatest. By working directly with Asia’s zoos, we can help give better lives to the animals in their care and help to increase the public’s awareness of animal sentience.”

The One Life animal welfare poster exhibition will continue to tour China in 2019, while preparations have begun for the posters to later tour Vietnam.