Thunder Bay city councillors find themselves divided over the future of the animal exhibit at Chippewa Park now that Mayor Keith Hobbs has suggested the display be shut down after a moose died there last week.
"If you keep animals in captivity, they're deprived of their natural functions, which is finding food and escaping enemies," said Coun. Ken Boshcoff.
"So, really, what happens to animals is they go mental."
Boshcoff says the money used to support the exhibit could be used to restore habitat in the wild.
Other councillors aren't ready to write the zoo off the city's books, however.
"I know that my kids regularly go to the zoo. They enjoy the experience," Coun. Andrew Foulds said. "With all that said, could we be doing more? Probably."
Foulds said he would like to see the city evaluate the facility's operations.
Thunder Bay parks manager Paul Fayrick said it's hard to measure the value of an animal display, including "what is the value to the community or what are the values to people who don't get a chance to go and see a woodland caribou or don't see bears up close …[It] is [a]
whole different type of evaluation."
The moose was seven years old, but Fayrick said it is not unusual for an animal to die after living that long.
CBC News asked several Thunder Bay city council members if they were in favour of closing the exhibit. Rebecca Johnson and Ken Boshcoff said they support closing the park, while Larry Hebert, Ian Angus, Andrew Foulds and Aldo Ruberto said they were against closing the park.