In the argument over keeping wild animals captive for public display and corporate profit, here’s one for the CON side of the ledger: More than 10,500 animals at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies are on their own after staff was forced to evacuate when the Gatlinburg wildfire came within 50 feet of the structure last night. At this time, the building is still standing and security webcams are reportedly still broadcasting. The aquarium has generators to maintain power so the animals can survive, at least until the fuel runs out. But there is no one there to feed, medicate or assist any animals in need.
Some of the animals at this aquarium: penguins, stingrays, sea turtles, sharks, octopuses and clownfish. A live penguin cam, offered on the Ripley website, says “video unavailable” this morning. I guess the corporation doesn’t want a live internet feed of whatever may happen to the penguins.