I found “Sonic Liminality: Soundscapes, Semiotics, and Ecologies of Meaning” by Jonathan Beever to be quite an interesting read. I have visited zoos before, and often wondered how the animals dealt with the climate being so different from their natural environment, but I had never considered how the noise environment would impact them. I have heard of some zoos piping nature noises into enclosures, but I guess I always assumed this was for the guests to create an “authentic experience”, rather than for the wellbeing of the animals.
This summer, I interned with the forest service. I often found myself working in the middle of nowhere. I would go entire workdays without seeing or hearing any signs of another person. Typically, the only sounds I would hear were the wind, birds, and squirrels. In the vast expanse of nature, many wild animals can successfully avoid noise pollution the majority of the time. For animals in zoos, constantly dealing with buzz of crowds and humming of machines, must be a really alien experience.
If aliens were to start abducting humans, and exhibit them in interplanetary zoos, what sounds should they pipe over loud speakers to try and create a better experience for us? Nature noises are peaceful and connect us to not too distant evolutionary past, while city noises are what most people today are accustomed to.