Much like lines for the velociraptors on Isla Nublar, the line for the “Jurassic Park is a Terrible Zoo” panel wrapped around the Hilton Crystal Ballroom (and beyond) on Friday at 4:30PM. Paleontologists Will Harris and David Moscato along with Lucas Hernandez, animal educator at the South Carolina Aquarium, discussed all the reasons why, as a zoo, Jurassic Park is the absolute worst—and not because the scientists shouldn’t have brought them back in the first place.
When you think of the Jurassic Park movie, you probably have fond memories nightmares about the cow, goat, and Jeep causalities. In the original movie, the cacophony of cows mooing in fear being lowered in a metal and canvas sling about to be torn to shreds by the velociraptors was a moment. Turns out, carnivores don’t really care if it’s a bleating goat tied to a pole or previously deceased sustenance, according to Harris. The trend of unnecessary live dinners continued into Jurassic World, where the “spared no expense” scene happened. A chomping great white shark, which is a critically endangered species, was suspended by the tail enticingly above the mosasaur exhibit for the audience’s entertainment. Long story long, Harris stated that, when feeding the animals, you shouldn’t dangle cows like tea bags.
Continuing with the list of don’ts, 10,000-volt fences with one panel on the other side of the island is right up there. Those same fences turn into limp wires when there is no longer an electrical current coursing through them. Animals kept in zoos require safe and secure enclosures – it’s also helpful when it’s one that keeps people safe as well. Hernandez explained that it’s a simple fix by building an enclosure behind an 18” thick plexiglass wall with a moat. “The T-rex won’t be able to break through, no matter how delicious those kids appear,” he added. After reviewing the footage of the most recent Jurassic Park disaster in Jurassic World, Moscato thought the new T-rex enclosure had been greatly improved from their shocking original habitat, but there were still way too fresh goats.
Staffing is critical to running a successful zoo. And when stacking your staff deck, it’s important to have:
- Wu – no further explanation needed.
- IT staff – necessary for electrified wires.
- Chaos theorist – that’ll end well.
- Lawyer – also important.
- Veterinarian – no more than one, but must be open to suggestions from strangers.
- Experts on the dead – why are you asking paleontologists??
- Guys with nonsense weapons and Kevlar – for when the dinos shoot them, Harris added.
“Where are the zookeepers?!” Hernandez interjected. Someone has to be the one clean up after the animals and do the actual work. In summary, who thought that staffing would be a terrific idea? Do you want unexpected animal babies? This is how you get unexpected animal babies, when no one is taking care of them.
Finally, zoos are meant to protect their inhabitants, both the toothy kind and the paying kind. Meanwhile, Jurassic Park had bullet-proof motorized bowling balls controlled completely by teenagers. In a field. Running at highway speeds. During a stampede. Nowhere in any of the operational instructions did it say “please don’t hit our animals,” Harris pointed out.
All in all, Harris explained that the dinosaurs aren’t just blenders with teeth. That’s our perception of them, but in reality, it’s a reflection of how poorly the zoo that spared no expense, except for the cost of zookeepers, treated them.