The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Jeans 'Designed' By Lions And Tigers To Benefit Japanese Zoo

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 1:28 pm

At long last, the ultimate in that "distressed look" for jeans.

To help support the Kamine Zoo in Hitachi City, Japan, the Mineko Club of volunteer zoo boosters is holding an auction of three pairs of one-of-a-kind bluejeans designed by lions and tigers and, yes, bears too.

According to an English-language translation on the group's website, "Zoo Jeans are the only jeans on earth designed by dangerous animals."

"We first take their favourite playthings — old tires and giant rubber balls — and wrap them in sheets of denim.

"Then we return them to the animals and let nature run its course.

"The animals roar, gnaw and claw at their toys, and when they're done we gather up what's left of the damaged denim. It is from this unique fabric that we make the jeans."

You can see a gallery of the results here.

According to The Conversation:

"Rather than simply being a marketing [gimmick], there is actually value in this from an animal welfare perspective. 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. 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.

"Wrapping denim around a tyre to make enrichment devices for toothy carnivores is just one way that zoos have profited from their animals' hobbies over the years. Since their inception, zoos have looked for different ways to fund their activities. London Zoo when it first opened would let in penniless visitors for a cat or dog to be fed to the carnivores. Visitors with money were offered other things to keep themselves amused as they looked at the animals."

The sale of the Zoo Jeans began Monday on Japan's Yahoo Auctions. The proceeds from two lion models and a tiger model will be donated to the Kamine Zoo's efforts to preserve the environment for the animals, as well as the World Wildlife Fund, the website says.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.