Few people are lucky enough to see animals such as lions, elephants and tigers in their natural habitats. There surely can be no experience like it. And certainly, seeing such magnificent animals confined to a zoo is nothing at all like it; and that’s one of the problems.
It is sometimes hard for people to understand why zoos are so terrible because they don’t know the nature and needs of these animals. And the reason for that is simple: it is because zoos don’t exist to educate people about these unique animals; they exist as a moneymaking business.
Zoos don’t assist in conserving endangered wildlife because the animals they breed will never have any chance of being released to increase the wild populations. Instead, they will be kept in cages and enclosures their entire lives. Even if a species becomes extinct in the wild, zoos would still not be able to help save the wild population because animals born in zoos don’t know how to survive in the wild, even though animals who have been bred in captivity for generations still have natural instincts and needs, including being able to roam freely.
In the wild, elephants may travel up to 80 kilometres every day, and lions have a territory of up to 400 kilometres in which they hunt. In a zoo, where they are unable to perform these natural behaviours, animals often show signs of zoochosis, in which they exhibit abnormal and repetitive behaviours.
Conservation projects that help save animals who live in the wild focus on preserving their habitat and protecting them from hunting and poaching. They work to educate the public about the needs of these animals and how we can help preserve their natural environment.
To see an animal held captive in a zoo is truly not to see that animal at all; instead, you see a sad caricature of the animal, depressed and frustrated. If you want to learn more about these wonderful beings, you can watch documentaries or read books about how they behave in their natural habitat. To be a friend to animals, you can pledge not to support zoos. And if we are very lucky indeed, these animals may survive in the wild for future generations to marvel at, rather than existing only behind bars.
Posted by Jason Baker