Also zoo life does not prepare animals for the challenges of life in the wild. Zoos do a lot for their animals. Zoos have a long way to go to improve the lives of their residents, and I hope they will immediately begin to change the ways in which they treat the very animals for whom they are totally responsible. Please try again. And zoos are a necessary and vital part of efforts to conserve them and other endangered animals. This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Animal enrichment is meant to improve the animals’ environments and care based on their natural behaviors and instincts. Firstly, our experience suggests that some of the most common welfare concerns are ones that involve the … Efforts to improve the environment for captive animals increased from there and slowly evolved into the modern zoo habitats many of us are familiar with today. Zoos make money selling animals to other zoos; and live breeding animals—itinerant sperm donors—or their semen are traded around among zoos, as zoos seek to create the best collection. Twiggs and Jeffrey, two giraffes born at the Cape May County Zoo in New Jersey, were sold by the zoo to a broker who subsequently sold them to a traveling circus. By signing up you are agreeing to our, How Medieval History Is Helping an Endangered Species, Why TIME Chose Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the 2020 Person of the Year. We apologize, but this video has failed to load. And the need for intensive conservation campaigns is now more urgent than ever before: Our world is currently in the midst of the “Sixth Extinction,” a term coined by Elizabeth Kolbert in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name. Georgia Election Official Calls Out Trump, Biden Tells Republicans That He’s Done With Their Games. Consider the Arabian Oryx, a striking breed of antelope from the Arabian Peninsula. her … The point is that they have no food finding skills and cannot hunt or fight off the other predators. The local Vancouver Aquarium was among the first four entities to earn inaugural certification under the Humane Conservation program. Keeping a tiger or a … Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings. A great number of animals, once they are allowed to live in nature, have no idea how to survive. The recent deaths of two beluga whales at the Vancouver Aquarium has reignited the public debate about whether the facility should be allowed to keep whales in captivity. Read more about cookies here. One thing zoos can do right away is to stop playing “musical animals” or “musical semen.” Zoos commonly move animals around as if they’re objects, taking individuals far from families and friends they care for and upon whom they rely. Louisiana pine snakes lay a relatively small number of eggs at one time, and require very specific conditions in order to successfully breed. Modern zoos aim to promote animal conservation, educate people, and support further wildlife research. To be sure, there are bad actors. However, a sweeping indictment of all zoos and aquariums fails to consider the positive contributions of ethical institutions, which protect the lives of animals both in human care and in the wild. When zoos need more animals, parent animals are shipped here and there and … Zoos that support efforts to improve sub-standard zoos, zoos that take on non-breeding or old animals (often because no one else will), zoos that join forces with animal welfare groups to rescue animals, zoos that refuse to hold certain species and zoos that speak out against unethical and immoral welfare practices - these compassionate zoos should be the future. Zoos and other centres that hold wild animals in captivity face different issues that can have a direct impact on the welfare of animals. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited. The Phoenix Zoo helped lead the ensuing breeding and reintroduction programs, which ultimately birthed more than 200 calves from just nine individuals. A welcome email is on its way. Zoo and sanctuary-dwelling apes’ lives don’t depend on their mental and physical capabilities—they’ll get fed and cared for anyways. The steel bars and glass cages of the past have been vastly upgraded, ensuring that the animals have more room to roam and feel more at home. But the contradiction remains: there … And the San Diego Zoo retains a staff of 20 experts dedicated to the study of treating wildlife diseases that threaten conservation. Now between Oman and Jordan, there are about 1,000 Arabian Oryx living in the wild. Animal enrichment in zoos. Robin Ganzert is president and CEO of American Humane, the U.S.’s first national humane organization. Many of us enjoy visiting zoos to see wildlife animals. And then there’s the new Harambe holiday sweater currently flying off the shelves, with shoppers scooping up over a thousand of them in less than a week. Go see for yourself. According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), they shouldn’t. In fact, Zoos help raise the awareness of endangered species and also serve as an educational vehicle for children and adults. The Arabian Oryx, the black-footed ferret, and the California condor are more notable examples of endangered species saved through the breeding programs of zoos and aquariums. For zoos to serve as protective arks one detail must be met above all the rest - humans must leave the animals room to live. Zoos. I don’t disagree with your assessment on zoos, especially for higher forms of predators, larger animals in general and primates. Today’s zoos and aquariums are uniquely positioned to combat those evolving threats. Published in the Vancouver Sun on 22.12.2016. Breeding programmes provide a safeguard: zoo-bred animals can be released into the wild to increase genetic diversity. On election night in the U.S., wild rumours swirled on social media about write-in votes for the now-notorious ape. And then there’s the new Harambe holiday sweater currently, tap here to see other videos from our team. The spawning of so-called “roadside zoos”—an exploitative enterprise known for its systematic negligence and abuse of animals—are some of the most egregious cases-in-point. Just like humans, animals go through many physical and behavioral changes as they get older; just as medical science allows humans to live longer, veterinary care and nutrition, advancements in technology, and improvements in research studies have helped to lengthen the life span of animals in zoos. They Improve the Lives of Animals… Reintroduction projects are sometimes also used by zoo-opponents as a stick to beat zoos. But when it comes to personal work, zoos are a great opportunity to photograph animals you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Here are a few ideas on how you can ensure you have a positive impact when visiting a zoo and as a tourist. But should a tiger, elephant, or monkey really be kept in an enclosure for human entertainment? Keep feeders and baths clean regularly to avoid spreading infections amongst the birds. In other words; adding a little creativity, fun and stimulation to our animals’ lives! When an animal lives in the zoo there’s usually no mother who could teach it basic skills, which could help this animal survive in the wildness. Zoos help and protect their animals. They Improve the Lives of Animals. Increasingly, zoos are focusing on behavioral enrichment -- giving animals choices in their environments, and striking a balance between offering them … Responsible zoos and aquariums exist to facilitate and promote the conservation of animals. Please try again later. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Zoos and aquariums improve the lives of animals. Zoos Are Not Prisons. This website uses cookies to personalize your content (including ads), and allows us to analyze our traffic. Using robust and sophisticated breeding programs, these institutions fund and facilitate countless initiatives to propagate species and preserve genetic biodiversity, and then reintroduce critically endangered or extinct species into the wild. The expert describes how humanely and scientifically managed zoos contribute to making animals better. However times are changing. A type of care called animal enrichment is very important to zoo animals. Zoos and aquariums are tools by which we can preserve animal life while habitats are threatened. The red wolf once roamed through the eastern and south-central United States, but due to habitat loss and intensive predator control programs, was designated as an endangered species in 1967. They will use all of their senses to take in their surroundings and expand their understanding about animals and their environment. This is not because their intentions or operations are poorly actioned, but because they simply do not construct self-sustaining populations which can reproduce with genetic diversity in the numbers … Hard-working zoologists understand the needs of their animals and provide the right food and care for them. Zoos, aquariums, water parks, and other facilities can help to maintain the viability of endangered species when humanity does not do a good enough job of protecting the animals in the wild. All Rights Reserved. To some detractors, the humane certification of zoos and aquariums is an oxymoron. The species was hunted to extinction in the wild nearly four decades ago, when the last wild Arabian Oryx was shot and killed in 1972. Even if you don’t attend the educational programs, activities or special events, children will still absorb an insane amount of knowledge when visiting a zoo. Life in the wild harbors the risk of predation, food shortages, harsh climates, and intense competition. Visit us on Facebook Take a look at our YouTube channel. The best zoos argue that education is one of their most important features. Even when animals are never introduced into the wild, placing them under human care can still improve the lives of their wild counterparts: Modern zoos and aquariums serve as bases for observation and research, which then helps protect wild animals. Again, as with the presence of human visitors, a comparison of different primate environments … Zoos Are Not Prisons. Vast empirical and anecdotal evidence contradict this claim, showing the animals living in modern institutions live longer, healthier, and richer lives than their forbearers ever did in the wild. An Oxford University study based on four decades of observing animals in captivity and in the wild found that animals such as polar bears, lions, tigers, and cheetahs “show the most evidence of stress and/or psychological dysfunction in captivity” and concluded that “the keeping of naturally wide-ranging carnivores should be either fundamentally improved or phased out.” 10,11 A survey of the records of … Animals that live in zoos are a great way for scientists to easily study the patterns of certain species, such as the way they live, act, and react. The Zoological Society of London, for instance, is developing innovative methods to assess the risks of animals contracting disease when they’re reintroduced into the wild. Today, many zoos promote the protection of biodiversity as a significant part of their mission. Join the mailing list to receive daily email updates. A type of care called animal enrichment is very important to zoo animals. The wide variety of species kept in zoos and the thousands of zoos across the world often leads to the assumption that keeping animals in captivity is acceptable and the norm. Zoos and aquariums today are uniquely equipped to preserve the future of wild species on our planet. The goals of enrichment are to offer a sense of control by allowing … Most of us have visited a zoo at some point in our lives. Unlike the five preceding die-offs, which were precipitated by natural events—such as those that killed off the dinosaurs, exterminating three-quarters of all species on the planet—the current mass extinction is a result of human activities encroaching on wild spaces. Of course, the positive contributions of zoos and aquariums in conserving wild animals cannot—and should not—outweigh the health and well-being of the animals living under the care of these institutions. On election night in the U.S., wild rumours swirled on social media about write-in votes for the now-notorious ape. But the good news is that each of us can play a role in helping … Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve the species. Removed from their natural habitats and social structures, they are confined to small, restrictive environments that deprive them of mental and physical stimulation. The examples are countless. 16 The director of the Cape May County Zoo actually admitted to seeing the animals’ pitiful living conditions in the circus but did not do anything to alleviate their suffering or improve their situation. That’s why American Humane launched American Humane Conservation, a third-party certification program dedicated to verifying the humane treatment of animals living in zoo and aquarium environments. Unlike zoos, animal sanctuaries are non-profit rescue centers that provide shelter for abused, unwanted, neglected, and orphaned animals. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you don't see it please check your junk folder. The zoos give the animals big and wide enclosures that have places to rest, play and hide in. Once, they were grim places of bars and concrete. Everything from Internet memes to Halloween costumes have immortalized the gorilla, who was fatally shot at the Cincinnati Zoo in May after a three-year-old boy stumbled into his enclosure. The zoo-based initiative successfully reintroduced the first red wolf in 1987, and today, there are more than 100 red wolves in wild. We encountered an issue signing you up. They keep the animals busy by giving them enrichment activities through out the day, such as hiding the food or giving them things … An unexpected error has occurred with your sign up. coined by Elizabeth Kolbert in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book. And where do they go when they leave our zoos? Our planet is currently facing what scientists call the “Sixth Extinction,” with a rapid rate of species die-offs that rivals the extinction wave that killed off the dinosaurs. But ultimately, it’s first-hand experience that offers the most persuasive proof that zoos and aquariums can serve as responsible and productive stewards of animal wellbeing, with the Vancouver Aquarium as a shining case-in-point. When an animal gets sick, these experts know what treatments and medicines to give them in order to help them get better. If you are planning a … Opinion: Zoos and aquariums improve the lives of animals. Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington is leading global research efforts on the detection and treatment of the sometimes-fatal elephant herpes virus, with the ultimate goal of developing an effective vaccine to be administered to the species in both zoo and wild populations. However, opponents of zoos say that the vast majority of captive breeding programmes do not release animals back into the wild. Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. Lack of space, social stress, presence of visitors, diseases and other health problems, and medical procedures are some of the main challenges facing zoos when they want to guarantee an optimal welfare status for the animals under their care. Many animals in zoos now receive special diets and supplements, physical therapy, and even … Zoos shown to the public for the entertainment of people should be stopped for they don’t care for the animals as frankly as they reveal to the people. As we work to change how … But vast empirical and academic research discredits this black-and-white view. Go see for yourself. Zoos do not teach children about the natural attributes of animals, on the contrary zoos provide a distorted image and teach them how animals should not be living. Economic importance. Captive animals’ lives can be vastly improved by focusing on three goals: Providing places to go and, things to do, and more … 4 min read. It’s an uncomfortable question that asks us to seriously consider what zoos do and don’t do and how zoo’d animals’ lives are compromised by losses of choice and freedom. Temple Grandin, an animal scientist at Colorado State University, says that being autistic helps her do better work to improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses. While zoos and aquariums can significantly contribute to the protection of animals and their habitats, poor animal welfare is linked to poor conservation and education. Surplus animals are sold not only to other zoos but also to circuses or hunting ranches in the US or South Africa, where some people are willing to pay a lot of … ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have hundreds of species and thousands of individual animals. You can be a responsible tourist by ensuring your actions do not contribute to animal cruelty. 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