10 Answers

I watched an educational show on zoos and the stressed behaviour of animals in zoos. There is a push to close zoos as they are 90% full of animals that do not need protecting. The animals are stressed due to not being able to roam and feed as they would in the wild. Seaward in the USA are going to stop their breeding program for Orcas due to backlash as these magnificent animals need to swim and travel through oceans. Wild animals do not thrive in captivity. Your thoughts?

Posted anonymously, 11th January 2017

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  • I think it depends a lot on the setup of the zoo, as they vary a lot. There is also a good argument that zoos provide kids with a learning experience that will help them connect to animals more broadly.

  • Wildlife parks where animals have more freedom might be a compromise.

  • I agree, but what about the cows, pigs and chickens we keep captive under unfree circumstances all because our taste buds want to be stimulated and our tummies want to be fed ?

  • I agree. I always feel very sad when I visit a zoo.

  • Zoos can try and replicate natural environments, but they are not natural environments. Animals need to hunt for their food and walk and run for miles. Animals in zoos show repetitive behaviours – all signs of stress due to environment, boredom and so many other factors. Humans also show these same signs in similar captive conditions. It is a fascinating issue and just because we can house animals in zoos does it mean we should? I do believe in sanctuaries and animal organisations that do a magnificent job in animal welfare and in raising awareness about preserving and respecting animal environments. Polar bear numbers are dwindling because of the melting ice caps and zoos will not change this as it is the environment and this area needs major work and commitment.

  • I think as long as the animals are well cared for, that Zoos are a great way for us all to see animals.
    Take a look at our wonderful Melbourne Zoo where animals are kept in natural environments and constantly monitored by Keepers and Vets. Without Zoos how would we see wild animals such as monkeys, lions, giraffes, etc? How would children even know they exist or the size and smell of them, apart from books and movies?

  • I think a lot modern zoos dona good job of creating comfortable environments for their animals. They have the best vet care and food. Some of the animals wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild after being in captivity. However, when you head overseas and see zoos in Thailand, Bali, India etc they are still tiny concrete cells. No where near suitable enough to house animals. They have very sad lives and aren’t valued at all. These zoos need closing

  • Some zoos are integral to ensuring the survival and conservation of some species so in that regard they can’t all be bad can they?

  • I agree – Some zoos are far superior to others in space and environment and attempting to replicate natural conditions and environments. However, many of the conservation techniques are not working due to the artificial environment. White rhinos for example are nearly extinct and there are only three left in the world. Reproduction techniques have not worked in captivity. They are nearly extinct because of poaching – which is another issue. Some zoos have moved away from keeping elephants in zoos and no longer have them. They have been moved to a sanctuary to live out their remaining years and are now living longer and not showing signs of stress. Animals in captivity have shorter life spans and get more diseases. It is an interesting and complicated issue and it is important to educate our children on all aspects on animal welfare, which includes discussion on zoos, sanctuaries, natural environments etc.

  • Some Zoos do a really good job with education and conservation. Many do not. I don’t think there is a straight yes or no answer to this question rather it should be answered on a case by case scenario and a species by species consideration.

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