A zoological garden or park refers to a facility enclosure housing animals either for viewing by the public and/or for breeding (Sheridan, pp 6). Animals are plucked from their natural habitat and taken to the zoos especially when their numbers have declined and there is a need to conserve them. All around the world, there are zoos housing different animals such as rhinos, monkeys and lions. Despite the advantages that zoos contribute both to the animals and the countries involved, there are more disadvantages of having such facilities. It is much more helpful if all zoos are closed down than having them in operation.
One of the guiding reasons why zoos should be closed down is the fact that animals are better off in their natural ecosystems than in captivity. It is true that some zoos are used for rescuing animals and especially those that have been orphaned. To some extent, therefore, it seems reasonable to have the animals taken care of in such facilities (Braverman, pp 17). However, the mental disturbance that the animals undergo while in captivity is like a punishment that they need not undergo. Moreover, humankind should police the nature by trying to guide the natural processes of predation and competition. All animals should be left in their natural environments to adapt to the changes that occur.
Zoos provide a small confined area for the animals to live in while most of these animals are used to vast tracts of land. The elephant for example, is particularly disturbed when it is enclosed in a small confinement and prefers to stay in its natural habitat. Zoos are therefore like some form of slavery bestowed upon the animals. The animals’ social behaviors change when they are kept in zoos and may even lead to detrimental psychological effects (Hosey et al., pp 46). The polar bear is for instance given about 10 meters of roaming space while it used to covering the expansive Arctic zone when in its natural habitat. Moreover, the primates, birds and leopards are confined in small cages where they have less space to stimulate and exercise their bodies. Essentially, these animals end up developing weird behaviors such as swaying and pacing.
The change in the environment and the climatic conditions is a leading cause of sickness and death for animals kept in captivity. Many African elephants have died while in captivity in countries such as China and the United States (Zimmermann, pp 2). In addition, the animals in the zoos come into contact with many chemicals that may cause them diseases. While zoos provide people with an opportunity to see nature without having to travel for long distances, they are detrimental to the animals. Many visitors mock the animals and abuse them thus invoking psychological stress on the animals.
While it is true that zoos are used for breeding programmes to prevent extinction of animals, most of these programs are not as successful. In fact, the programs are always very costly and inefficient as evidenced by the world renowned panda breeding programme (Hosey et al., 62). Moreover, the life in the zoo makes the animals unsuitable for release into the wild. Lions may for instance become too lazy to hunt down and prey on other animals therefore making their life in the wild difficult. In addition, these animal breeding programmes can be done in the wild or in special conservancies that have the natural environment.
Zimmermann, Tim. “The Case for Closing Zoos.” Outside Online. 13 Feb. 2015. Retrieved on 10 Dec. 2015 from http://www.outsideonline.com/1930141/case-closing-zoos.
Sheridan, Anthony D. What Zoos Can Do the Leading Zoological Gardens of Europe 2010 – 2020, 2013 Update. Münster: Schüling, 2013. Print.
Braverman, Irus. Zooland: The Institution of Captivity. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Law , an Imprint of Stanford UP, 2013. Print.
Hosey, Geoffrey R, Vicky Melfi, and Sheila Pankhurst. Zoo Animals: Behaviour, Management and Welfare. , 2013. Print.
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