How cool is this? The latest in designer denim from Japan: blue jeans ripped and distressed by the lions, tigers, and bears of Hitachi City’s Kamine Zoo!
The Mineko Club, an organization of zoo supporters, is auctioning three pairs of “the only jeans on Earth designed by dangerous animals” to benefit the zoo and the World Wildlife Fund. To make the pants, chew toys such as tires and rubber balls were wrapped in denim and given to the animals. Then the zookeepers simply “let nature run its course.” After the creatures gnawed on the material, the destroyed fabric was used to make three pairs of first-of-their-kind jeans.
According to Robert Young, a wildlife conservation professor at the University of Salford in Manchester, England, there’s value to the gnawing and clawing for the animals.
“Involving lions and the zoo’s other large carnivores in the activity is part of what’s called environmental enrichment. This is the provision of stimuli to help improve well-being,” Young wrote on The Conversation. Chewing up the denim helps the animals develop team-building skills as well. “It’s a win-win activity for many zoos, who can make alternative profits from their animals, which tend to be used to provide extra facilities for them.”
While it’s good to know that there are positive benefits to involving animals in creating a fashion craze, let’s not forget one thing: Being in nature, not playing with denim in an enclosed space, could provide these wild animals a better experience.