Earlier this week, I was informed that I would no longer be welcome at the Bronx Zoo, and needless to say, it totally blindsided me. While I now completely understand their reasoning, I still defend my actions at the time. Here’s why I wasn’t wrong to assume that the zoo’s wandering peacocks were up for grabs.

Recently, I was enjoying a trip to the Bronx Zoo when a peacock walked across my path, right out in the open. I couldn’t believe my luck—a peacock, just free for the taking, and miraculously, no one else had snatched it up first. It was entirely reasonable for me to come to that conclusion, as there is no signage anywhere prohibiting visitors from capturing one, nor did the woman who sold me my ticket fill me in. I have since been made well aware of zoo policy, but in the moment I placed several peacocks in the trunk of my car, I would still say that I was completely in bounds.

Here’s a quick business lesson for any zoos out there: When you want to claim ownership over an animal, clearly label it as yours.

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Look, I’m a reasonable guy. I obviously know that I can’t take a gorilla home, as they live behind a glass barrier. But if I see a peacock freely wandering about, then I’m going to assume it’s fair game, much like I wouldn’t ask anyone’s permission to take home a rat I found on the sidewalk. I’m offended to have been vilified for my actions when the zoo is really to blame for not doing more to alert patrons to its arcane peacock policy.

Here’s a quick business lesson for any zoos out there: When you want to claim ownership over an animal, clearly label it as yours. I placed each and every peacock I brought home in a gated pen with signs that read “DO NOT TAKE THESE PEACOCKS.” And guess what? Until the police and Bronx Zoo handlers showed up on my doorstep demanding the return of the birds, none of them got taken. It really isn’t that hard.

I sincerely hope that the Bronx Zoo officials realize that most of the blame for this whole ordeal falls on them, and that we can come to an agreement that allows me to return in the near future. If I’m ever allowed back, I promise to avoid going near the peacocks, even though you pretty much have to be a mind reader to avoid running afoul of Bronx Zoo policy. All I ask in return is for the zoo to please explicitly state that peacock capture is prohibited so that nobody is unfairly embarrassed like I was ever again.

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