People have always been enthralled by wildlife. And no doubt that there is an entire tourism industry dedicated to allowing people to experience wild animals up close and personal. Zoos provide visitors with the opportunity to see exotic animals and entertain themselves for a minimal fee.
Such conservation facilities have existed since the 18th century and are extremely popular with adults and children. However, are they actually beneficial?
Zoo opponents assert that enclosing animals causes them to suffer physically and mentally. Even the most advanced artificial contexts cannot match the space, distinctiveness, and liberty animals enjoy in their native habitat.
Zoos, on the other side, have the prospect of informing the public about wildlife conservation and stimulating people to protect species and ecosystems by introducing people and animals together. Some zoos offer a safe haven for animals that have been victimized in circus acts or have a history as neglected pets.
Zoo operations have been fraught with the kerfuffle over the years. Their emergence, however, has both advantages and disadvantages.
Table of Contents
Pros of Zoo
To begin, we will review the major advantages of zoos, also known as zoological gardens. We will try to understand why they were created nearly 2,000 years ago and why they are still relevant to contemporary days.
1. Education to the general public
When a neighborhood has a local zoo, it provides a chance to engage with animals that would otherwise be impossible. A zoo is one of the best and safest places to do so. Many individuals will never have the opportunity to see lions, cheetahs, or antelopes in the wild.
There are, however, other options to get close and personal with all of these beautiful creatures and more, with over 10,000 zoos globally. There are usually knowledge boards next to each display at zoos, so there is plenty to discover.
Furthermore, many zoos have classroom areas. School field trips to zoos are popular, and students will have the opportunity to hear from zoo staff, preservationists, and investigators. They may gain an in-depth understanding of particular species or hear an overview of the work done by zoos.
2. Conservation of species
Zoo sustainability in practice includes breeding programs, species reinstatement, and genus survival strategies. Zoos can save specific species from extinction, which is absolutely impressive, don’t you reckon?
The Pere David’s Deer is a good demonstration of this strategy. These species were functionally extinct until numerous zoo programs collaborated to fertilize and release four deer. They were returned to the wild in 1985 and have since become self-sufficient. Zoos carry on making efforts in this regard to protect and improve the preservation status of various organisms.
The release of captive-bred animals on a regular basis ensures the genetic diversity of the wildlife populations. Their work with captive animals frequently benefits their wild predecessors. After all, the reality that captive breeding contributes to the survival of various species is a definite advantage of zoos.
3. Economic assistance
Zoos do more than just care about animal welfare. They also hire people from all sorts of backgrounds. A zoo employs animal caregivers who have been trained and qualified to care for and maintain the species.
They employ veterinarians to care for the animals at the zoo. A zoo employs cleaning staff, food service workers, memento vendors, tour operators, parking stewards, and many other people.
4. Life assistance to vulnerable animals
Certain animals, particularly those on the edge of extinction, would have even less chance of survival in the wild. Poachers continue to chase these animals for their hides, skeletons, and other body parts.
Furthermore, some of them have a more challenging time enduring in the jungle on their own due to environmental damage, habitat degradation, high levels of competition for nourishment, over-predation, pathogens, and other upsetting factors.
5. Research and degree programs
The Smithsonian Zoo is one of many associations that collaborate with local projects to improve schemes at every post-graduate assuring animal wellbeing in the long term. Residency courses, veterinary internships, and a wide range of other academic opportunities allow for a high level of care for conditions that may arise.
Animal diagnostic teams with experts, pathologies, and instructors are available to ensure that every treatment plan is applied consistently. The zoo’s overall framework involves quarantine methodologies. The overarching purpose is always to provide superior medical service for every animal in care.
Because many illnesses, such as Ebola, Hantavirus, and bird flu, can be transferred from animals to people, zoos regularly initiate disease surveillance investigations in wild populations and their own defenseless populations, which can have a significant impact on health.
The veterinary employees at the Bronx Zoo in New York, for instance, notified health authorities of the existence of the West Nile Virus.
Cons of Zoo
Now that we have covered some of the most excellent benefits of Zoos, it is essential to remember that they are far from perfect environments.
1. Zoo animals have a shorter lifespan
Even though zoos are intended to protect animals, particularly endangered species, the life expectancy of animals in captivity is frequently shorter than that of wild creatures. Because of the recent documentary Blackfish, orcas are frequently used as examples of the negative effects of zoos, fish tanks, and other enclosures. Orcas in confinement have a life expectancy of only 30 years. Male orcas live only half as long. Orcas in the woods, on the other hand, have been expected to exist for a century or more.
2. Captive offspring are dependent
Although one of the primary goals of zoos is to have fruitful breeding programs for some of the globe’s most endangered animals, the offspring produced do not always integrate successfully into the animal world.
Many creatures born and brought up in confinement fail to effectively switch from captive to wilderness, leaving the zoo with no option but to keep them for the rest of its life.
3. Animal’s physical and mental health is under threat
There are occasions when a facility’s attempts to simulate an animal’s ecological landscape simply do not work. Polar bears are accustomed to arctic temperatures, so living in a hot, humid climate can put additional strain on their wellbeing.
Penguins generally sustain freezing temperatures during their mating rituals, but in zoos, they find themselves in tropical climates where the only spot to cool down may be a little blow chiller.
Those captured from the animal world take many years to adapt to being bound, and once they do, they are frustrated from the adaptation experience.
The natural habitat is more than a few vegetation, a stone wall, and a lagoon with a tall enough railing to keep folks out. Weather patterns are also a part of their native surroundings. This drawback can result in serious health issues for some animals.
4. Surplus animals can be killed
Numerous zoos fall short of their yearly financial goals. Even popular attractions are now seeing fewer visitors, which means less cash is spent on the animals’ services.
When expenditure exceeds incoming sales revenue, animals may be transferred to other zoos. Due to staff shortfalls and budget constraints, the facility may euthanize some creatures if they cannot identify another good living area.
A lion deemed excessive was euthanized in a Danish zoo in January 2016. The animal was then dissected in public by staff members. In 2014, a Copenhagen institution gunned down a young giraffe, sectioned it, and supplied the slices to their lions.
Then these activities are rationalized by the notion that if funds are not raised, they will have to do the same to all of the other wildlife at the venue.
5. Zoos can be profit-oriented
Regrettably, preservation and breeding initiatives to save some of the world’s most exotic species are little more than a marketing gimmick for some animal shelters.
Despite the fact that many zoos argue to have a stated mission that adheres to an ethical or moral standpoint that most people accept, very little effort is made in this path behind the storylines.
Having mentioned that, it is vital to recognize that many zoos actively participate in the quest to save and preserve species while others do not. Instead, they profit from the sale of wildlife, and their bottom line prioritizes profit over wildlife conservation.
|Education to the general public||Zoo animals have a shorter lifespan|
|Conservation of species||Captive offspring are dependent|
|Economic assistance||Animal’s physical and mental health is under threat|
|Life assistance to vulnerable animals||Surplus aminals can be killed|
|Research and degree programs||Zoos can be profit-oriented|
To Wrap Up
The significant issue with zoos is that, while they offer safe and secure environments for many wildlife, they can also cause real problems for the organisms. And while they offer numerous advantages to research groups, they do come at a price; whether it is worth the gamble or not is for us to decide.
So, are zoos beneficial to animals? Zoos may be beneficial; however, according to wildlife activists and environmentalists, they do more damage than good to the ecosphere.
Presumably, it all depends on how well independent zoos are organized, and the advantages of zoos can certainly outweigh the disadvantages. Even so, many people understandably believe that detaining animals for any rationale is plainly incorrect.
(Last Updated on June 30, 2022)