In recent years, the role of zoos and aquaria as centres for conservation, education, and entertainment has been placed under scrutiny. From the controversy surrounding the confinement of orcas at SeaWorld to the killing of Harambe the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, questions have been asked about the place, if any, of zoos and aquaria in a world where so many animals need resources and protection in the wild and many other means of learning about the natural world exist.
For more than a decade, McArthur has turned her forensic and sympathetic camera on those animals whom we’ve placed in zoos and we animals who look at them. As with her first book, We Animals (Lantern, 2013), McArthur s aim is to invite us to reflect on how we observe or ignore one another through the bars, across the moat, or on either side of the glass. Captive is a book that will challenge our preconceptions about zoos and aquaria, animal welfare, and just what or who it is we think we see when we face the animal.