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Bluefreedom's avatar

What are your personal thoughts about zoos in general and the alarming rate of declining populations of different animal species around the globe?

Asked by Bluefreedom (22861 points ) February 6th, 2009

Do you see zoos as cruel and inhumane to animals?

How about the view that they are good venues for trying to repopulate endangered species or trying to protect certain species from outright extinction?

Does mankind seem to have a wanton and callous attitude toward wildlife and its preservation?

My interest in this question stems from a very good National Geographic article I’m reading entitled Countdown to Extinction.

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10 Answers

KrystaElyse's avatar

I’m on the fence about this. While I looove visiting the San Diego Zoo, I think animals should be able to live free in their own habitat. I don’t think they need to be put in captvity to help repopulate certain endangered species… i’m sure there are ways in which they can keep them in their own environment while monitoring them that way, right?

free's avatar

considering the great strides forward that have been made in animal husbandry and that zoos have become the last repository for soo many species, I now view them with favor. when I was younger concerns about their living conditions were no where near my mind, just seeing them was enough. Now some zoos are more like preserves, and in some cases allow the reintroduction of dwindling stock back into the wild. It’s taken a few generations but we are finally seeing the light…
the opportunity for children to see exotic species is priceless.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Zoos are not cruel by design.. in fact they are a useful tool for educating the general public and a large portion of their income goes to programs whose focus is saving animals..animals love to live in the wild.. sure.. but they can also go extinct in the wild.. it is good that people are concerned because it creates a system of checks and balances for things.. but don’t let it go too far

Bluefreedom's avatar

@KrystaElyse. The San Diego zoo is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. I am a huge animal lover.

In regards to repopulating animals in their own environment, there are game preserves in Africa and other sites in certain parts of the world where this is still problematic due to poaching, trophy hunting, killing for food sources, and severe encroachment on animal habitats.

One thing I’m particularly proud of about our zoo here in Phoenix, Arizona is that we took the last 7 known Arabian Oryx’s in existence and started a captive breeding program. By the year 1980, more than a hundred of them were born at our zoo and we brought them back from near-extinction.

KrystaElyse's avatar

@Bluefreedom – That makes me sad :o( That’s awesome to hear about the zoo in Phoenix! I’ve never seen an Arabian Oryx before though. gotta google that!

Bluefreedom's avatar

@KrystaElyse. It is very sad. I’ve had a subscription to National Geographic magazine for years and I’ve read several articles that related to the plight of animals around the world. It is really heartbreaking in many cases.

I can see the merit in using zoos to help educate the world about animals and protecting the animals themselves but the habitats aren’t ever big enough and the conditions can’t be emulated well enough to duplicate what they would experience in the actual wild.

Sparkie510's avatar

I’m an animal lover and contribute regularly to the WWF, but do believe in this day and age there is a place for zoos – but it depends on the zoo. The best zoo I’ve been to is Singapore Zoo – fantastic environments and conditions for the animals. I particularly love the orangutang – and they are in danger of becoming extinct if rainforests continue to be destroyed at their current rate. As long as the zoo is a quality zoo, then I don’t have a problem with it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

As long as zoos are places that are as close to preserves as possible, I favor them. The kind of zoo I grew up with as a child was more like a warehouse, and that put me off to visiting them.

Zaku's avatar

“Do you see zoos as cruel and inhumane to animals?”
– Depends on the situation. Some zoos give specific animals which would otherwise be killed, relatively happy existences. However removing an animal which would otherwise have lived in the wild, to contain it for human observation, does seem cruel and inhumane to a degree depending on the specifics. On the other hand, one of the most dangerous problems for animals and planetary survival is human societal apathy towards animals, so exposing humans to animals to awaken their sympathy for them, is perhaps a vital function.

“How about the view that they are good venues for trying to repopulate endangered species or trying to protect certain species from outright extinction?”
– I think this is a valid argument, which I wish were not necessary.

“Does mankind seem to have a wanton and callous attitude toward wildlife and its preservation?”
– Not mankind intrinsically (go to a zoo and watch how children relate to animals), but many current social conversations and commonly unquestioned ideas, yes.

Coloma's avatar

@Sparkie510

I just came back from 2 weeks in Taiwan. Went to the Taipei zoo…very nice as well!

They are big on conservation and are working towards releasing a pair of Formosan bears, ( Moon bears ) back into their natural habitat. I thought the Taipei zoo was very clean, spacious, beautiful enclosures and a lovely feel to it.

Zoos are a double edged sword…conservation vs. incarceration. 6 on one hand, half a dozen on the other…the way it often is.

Maybe I’ll get over to Thailand next, I was close! lol

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