It’s time to answer the age-old question, are zoo’s actually helpful towards animal conservation?
The answer is no.
It is commonly believed that zoos protect animal species from going extinct, but the truth is that they rarely favour animals that are on the brink of extinction and instead promote popular animals that will attract more people to come to their zoo.
It is also believed that zoos exist solely for educational purposes, but that’s not exactly true either. Most people stay at each enclosure for only a few minutes and in those few minutes, they rarely read the provided information about the animal. Onlookers instead have their cameras ready to capture the animal doing something entertaining. It should also be acknowledged that the information provided about the animals are very basic facts and almost never have any actual educational value.
Here are just some of the ways that zoos are harmful to animal conservation:
-Zoo’s can’t provide sufficient space for their animals.
-Animals die prematurely in zoos.
-Animals are put in unnatural habitats and climates.
-Animals are removed from social structures.
-Once baby animals have lost their “wow factor,” a lot of the time they are sold and/or traded.
The Humboldt penguins at Scarborough Sea Life Centre are a good example of how harmful zoos can be to their animals.
The Sea Life Centre sayid that the penguins became fed up of the “miserable British winters” and in result became very lethargic and depressed. After about a month of this behaviour, the penguins were prescribed with antidepressants.
Humboldt penguins are usually found in Chile and Peru, which explains why they would not be acclimatized to British winters.
Another example of zoos doing more harm than good is what has commonly been referred to as zoochosis.
Zoochosis is a form of psychosis in which animals in captivity suffer from. Signs of animals suffering from zoochosis include:
In closing, animals that are captured in zoos are ultimately there for entertainment purposes and are not given the privilege of living in the same environments and conditions that they would be living in if they were in the wild.
How you can help:
Don’t visit zoos and encourage zoo sponsors to put their money towards protecting animals in the wild.
Just something to end off on and think about:
Here is a quote from an editorial published by The Globe and Mail
“How can you encourage children to feel compassion for endangered animals on far-off continents, or feel wonder at creatures in the wild, and then bring them face-to-face with a captive lion or bear and pretend that this is the same expression of nature?”