Besides the extensive collection of animals from around the planet, the Amsterdam City Zoo Artis also houses some local wild species on its premises who immigrated into the zoo on their own initiative.
The blue heron, a local bird living around the city of Amsterdam, appreciates the housing conditions in the Zoo so much that there is now a whole colony of them living in the Zoo. The birds are intruding and squatting residencies of legally immigrated zoo animals, enjoying a good dinner along with the penguins, flamingos and sea lions.
Recently the government granted the Zoo a permit to remove the nests of the herons from the Zoo. However, according to the faunabescherming (Dutch) – an organization that protects the interests of animals that live in the wild – the zoo is too intolerant on the local wild animals.
These events pose questions on our notions of nature and culture and what is what in this case. However, while we are pondering on whether the zoo should provide space for the illegally immigrated herons, the animals in the Zoo already find ways to deal with the birds.
According to an Artis spokesmen, it happens almost every week that a young heron, who cannot fly very well yet, lands on the wrong spot and disappears in the jaws of a lion.