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Are Zoo Bad For Animals

author
Carole Stephens
• Sunday, 06 December, 2020
• 11 min read

Humans have been capturing and displaying exotic animals for thousands of years. The earliest known collections date back to 3500 BCE in Egypt, where rulers kept hippos, elephants, baboons, and different species of large cats.

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Contents

Now back then, that didn’t mean that your average Egyptian could go check any of that awesomeness out. Modern zoos, where the public can come and watch animals exhibiting their natural behavior, didn’t really become a thing until the early 1800s.

Zoos may be great entertainment, but their big goal is to educate the public about wildlife and what we can do to protect them. In addition, zoos work really hard to save animals that are threatened in the wild.

What this means is that not all zoos have the resources to properly care for the animals they house. And for many critics, no amount of education or research justifies keeping animals captive.

And while zoos have been really helpful is saving endangered animals, it doesn’t work out for certain species. For example, most large carnivores like lions and tigers that are bred in captivity die when released into the wild.

There is a great chance that all those beautiful animals were most likely either in pain or in anguish for being held against their will. It turns out; zoos have a drastically negative effect on the animals they are supposed to protect.

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You will most likely find a zoo management counterfeiting this argument, but the research that we have done on this matter tells us otherwise. A man hurting a baby elephant for a shows might seem an alien concept to you, but animals are also tortured in zoos.

There was a case of Siberian tigers where this species was starved to death in minus degree temperatures. Several other such examples also include tigers getting beaten because they won’t learn to jump through the hoops.

In a zoo, a lion if kept in small confinement that would never allow him to roam freely as he desires. A few years ago, an entire pack of wolves was killed in a UK zoo because they were just too much to handle and were more than their requirements.

All the surplus animals that are killed raise a lot of questions, but the biggest of them all is that it is just not acceptable in any case. “As there are estimated to be around 2,000 zoos in Europe, this figure can be extrapolated to an estimate of as many as 10,000 large mammals killed each year in European zoos alone,” said Liz Tyson, Former Freedom for Animals Director.

We have not seen any management put its time in learning the origins of the animals they are keeping in cages. A poacher hunting for the next catches though most of the zoos claim that they have initiated well-preserved breeding programs, but that is not true at all.

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Additionally, most of the animals that are born in confinements have less chance of survival, so they face a threat if they are kept in the zoo. Animals can only survive when in their natural habitats, and if zoo managements are serious about preserving these species, they need to do it in the wilderness.

Chained elephant Fleetwood you want to live in a space where all other of your companions passed away, and you’re left alone? A few years ago, in Los Angeles, a 32-year-old elephant was left alone after all his other companions passed away.

The elephant showed grave signs of infection, abscesses, and stereotype for an animal of his age. When caged, animals lose their basic instinct to hunt for food and roam around, this is very traumatizing and leaves them in agony.

And that is just not it; these baby animals are also taken away from their families at a very young age to make a few dollars, which is very inhumane. We are sure that many of you must have heard how a lion or a gorilla was shot dead when he was trying to escape from his confinement.

Such ancient collections were not held for exhibition in public parks or maintained for purposes of education and recreation. After the conquest of Dacia, Emperor Trajan held 123 days of games in celebration, during which thousands of animals were slaughtered, including elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, tigers, giraffes, crocodiles, bulls, hippopotamus and stags.

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In 1898, the reason was cited by the New York Zoological Society when it resolved to inform the public of the continued decline in animal populations, to stimulate sentiment in favor of animal protection, and to cooperate with scientific organizations to ensure the preservation of species. Modern zoos play a critical role in the education of children and families about the various animals found on our planet.

Zoos also partner with local communities to extend the knowledge of animals and conservation to a wider audience. Placing such animals in zoos, especially those hunted and poached, provides them with a safe environment where the species can thrive.

With the dangers of climate change fast approaching, such measures are proving extremely important for the conservation of species. Recently Australia has had to face an unprecedented wave of bush fires that have been blamed on climate change.

The fires have destroyed vast areas of habitat and killed millions of animals, including Kangaroos, koalas, and other species unique to the continent. It is, therefore, essential to have animals in zoos and other areas where they can be accorded extra protection from such unpredictable events.

Extensive breeding programs at the zoo and reintroduction into wild habitats helped in saving the species from extinction. Other animals that have been preserved in protected areas such as zoos include the Golden Lion Tamarin, Arabian Onyx, Freshwater mussels, and the Puerto Rican Parrot.

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In addition to providing residence to animals, zoos create jobs and tourism opportunities that generate revenue for the local community. Today zoos are staffed with highly trained personnel having specialized knowledge on the animals they are tasked to care for.

Many zoos also have veterinarians, pathologists, and technicians who can provide specialized care to animals, including parasite removal and other forms of treatment. Zoo personnel are also aware of the physical and dietary requirements that each species needs to maintain them in a healthy state.

Activities do not adequately replace migration and hunting requirements for animals, but they do eliminate deterioration and boredom at the zoo. Zoos support scientific research by allowing scientists easy access to specimens or species under study.

Such studies create models that help improve zoo conditions so that animals can live longer, breed more successfully, and be happier. Many zoos currently work in collaboration with universities that research the facilities and train professionals such as veterinarians who can then help care for animals.

Taking an animal from its natural habitat for the sole reason of human entertainment raises several moral and ethical issues. Once they were rescued, they were found to be suffering from malnutrition, kidney, and cardiac problems, as well as trauma from living in a war zone.

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Due to a lack of activity, the elephant's feet began to deteriorate to a point where it became difficult for her to walk. Zoos that practice breeding programs face challenges when reintroducing animals back into the wild.

Restriction of some animals such as elephants adversely affects their migratory instincts leading to aggressive behavior. Some zoos continuously breed animals to get newborns to keep visitors coming and revenue streams flowing.

In addition to raising ethical and moral questions on such breeding, frequent births lead to overpopulation in a zoo with limited space. Related Topics Zoos have existed since ancient times, and were features of the great courts of Egypt and China.

The display of exotic animals was long a show of wealth and power, and a testament to the far-reaching arms of empires. Yet critics suggest that animals should not be kept in confinement, that some organizations participate in unethical work, and that the idea of a zoo is detrimental to the cause of conservation.

Elephants in the wild roam constantly, covering a wide swath of territory on a daily basis. In order to protect the species from extinction, some experts feel that captive breeding programs may be the best strategy for future survival.

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Many elephants in captivity were rescued from circuses, saved from natural disasters, or removed from the wild due to injury or abandonment. While in a perfect world, all zookeepers would be ethical experts with advanced knowledge in their field and a passion for their work, in truth, animal cruelty in zoos may happen accidentally or intentionally.

The ethics of zoo keeping is a tricky subject, which is why many zoological societies use a third-party observation method to keep zoo standards high. Studies have clearly shown that captive animals will live longer and be more active in an environment close to their native surroundings.

Many prominent zoos now actively construct exhibits that allow animals freedom of movement, a variety of habitats and toys, and native foliage. Research has shown that some animals will pine for a lost family member or mate, and can slip into ill health due to what appears to be loneliness.

Every year, millions of people go on safaris, board whale -watching cruises and watch Jeff Cor win get attacked by snakes on Animal Planet; others drive to their local zoo for a full day of animal gazing. Later, in early 13th-century England, Henry III moved his family's royal menagerie to the Tower of London for public viewing.

For a small fee, visitors would be treated to glimpses of animals like lions, camels and lynxes. And if they brought a dog or cat to feed the lions, they got in for free .

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The first modern zoo -- the Imperial Menagerie in Vienna, Austria -- was established in 1752 and continues to attract visitors to this day. Nearby, in Germany, is the world's largest animal collection: Zoo Berlin (formerly The Berlin Zoological Gardens) houses more than 15,000 animals from almost 1,700 species .

All U.S. animal exhibitors, like the 265-acre (107-hectare) Bronx Zoo just a subway ride away from Fifth Avenue, must apply for and receive a license from the Department of Agriculture. Millions of people visit the thousands of zoos around the world, proving that we simply never grow tired of observing wildlife.

Depending on your point of view, though, zoos are either sanctuaries of education and entertainment or unnecessary prisons. While some people argue that zoos play an important role in conservation and research, others counter that they do more harm than good.

Adding another point for zoo pros, the procedure for acquiring animals has also changed. Some breeding programs also help to restore threatened species.

After 10 years of working to strengthen the population numbers of the endangered California condor, a type of vulture, the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos were able to rebuild a population of fewer than two dozen birds to around 170 birds . Successful breeding programs brought the Père David's deer back from extinction.

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Though this Asian deer ceased to exist in the wild, Chinese and European zoo programs enabled four of the deer to be released back into the wild in 1985, where they're now self-sustaining . The cub, Leo, now spends his time frolicking and chasing small animals that wander into his enclosure .

And although zoo animals aren't treated quite like guests at a four-star hotel, their care has improved tremendously. Zookeepers now understand that many animals, such as monkeys, bears and elephants, need engaging activities to prevent boredom and mental deterioration.

This is why you'll often see chimps playing with toys or tigers “hunting” for a meal. The Toledo Zoo, in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy, is helping to restore butterfly habitats in Ohio, and the Bronx Zoo has channeled more than $3 million toward conservation projects in Central Africa .

The information they gather helps them to develop new medicines and techniques to improve animal health . Beyond the positive impact zoos try to have on animals, they often affect the people visiting as well.

With a variety of programs geared toward children and adults, zoos teach people about the needs of animals and the importance of conservation. And if people get excited enough, the thinking goes that they'll be more inclined to donate money to conservation efforts -- another zoo pro.

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Until the Alaska Zoo finally caved in to public pressure in 2007, Maggie was forced to spend days on end in a small indoor enclosure because of the frigid outside temperatures. Perhaps as a form of protest, she refused to use the elephant-sized treadmill the zoo brought in to encourage her to exercise .

Even in optimal conditions, some experts contend, it's incredibly difficult to provide for the needs of animals like elephants. If Maggie and her captive compatriots lived in the wild, they would wander as much as 30 miles (48 kilometers) a day in large groups, grazing on leaves and stopping to splash in the occasional watering hole.

Zebras at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. starved to death because of insufficient or incorrect food, and the same zoo's red pandas died after ingesting rat poison . And while many zoos, like those in the United States, are supposed to at least meet the minimum requirements spelled out in documents like the Animal Welfare Act, standards aren't always adequate or enforced .

While conditions have improved from the years of bars and cages, detractors take issue with other items. Although the natural-looking habitats are certainly more attractive, people like David Hancock's, a zoo consultant and former zoo director, describe them as mere illusions, arguing that they're not much of an improvement in terms of space .

Indeed, many captive animals exhibit signs of severe distress: People have witnessed elephants bobbing their heads, bears pacing back and forth and wild cats obsessively grooming themselves . Despite a zoo's best efforts, its animals often are deprived of privacy, confined to inadequate spaces and unable to engage in natural hunting and mating activities.

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Forced to live in artificial constructs, many animals succumb to what some people refer to as psychosis, the display of obsessive, repetitive behaviors . In addition, many animals have precise needs that zookeepers are just beginning to understand.

Some, like the aardvark, survive on a limited diet that zoos have a hard time fulfilling; others thrive only in certain temperatures and environments that aren't easy to recreate. Of 145 reintroduction programs carried out by zoos in the last century, only 16 truly succeeded in restoring populations to the wild .

According to one study, many visitors don't pay much attention to the animals -- they're actually talking to each other about unrelated things and spending only a few minutes at each display . If you had the communicative power of Dr. Doolittle, Leo leopard would likely tell you that zoos are great; however Maggie the elephant might respond by slapping you with her trunk.

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Sources
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