Zoos are among the greatest places to take your family for a fun adventure. In them, you will get to see a lot of exotic animals that you only get to see on TV or read in books. You will learn about interesting and fun wildlife, see animals you have never saw before and ultimately have an all-around great day. However, like any other thing, zoos also have good and bad sides to them. Let us take a look at their biggest pros and cons:
List of the Biggest Pros of Zoos
1. These establishments provide many benefits to animals that normally would have not received them.
Good examples of these benefits are proper nutrition and medical care for injuries for species that may not get them for themselves for some reasons. Also, these animals are supervised by zookeepers and staff who are willing to help them in the event of emergencies.
2. Education and research opportunities are available.
Zoos allow children and adults to observe wild animals up close, an opportunity that is normally not possible for many people. Having exotic and large animals secured in enclosures, these places also allow researchers and scientists to perform studies to better help us understand the way animals work. This could be helpful in saving more of them.
3. Zoos help with animal survival.
Out in the wild, some animals would have a very little chance to survive, especially those on the endangered list. As what we know, these animals are still hunted by poachers for their skins, bones and other by-products. Also, some of them have a more difficult time surviving in the wild by themselves due to pollution, destruction of their habitats, high level of competition for food, over-predation, diseases and other unfortunate reasons.
4. These places use helpful conservation programs under strict regulations.
Captive breeding programs are implemented to help preserve animals that have decreased in number, which is a good way to prevent extinction of some species. Also, the government and involved organizations normally set strict regulations on zoos, which require regular check-ups on resident animals and rigid procedures to acquire new ones.
5. Safety and security for animals, which they may not otherwise have in the wild, are provided.
Somehow related to the previous pros on this list, zoos provide a chance for people to learn more about some animals that they would not have a chance to otherwise. By caring for, feeding and working with the animals, zoo professionals can teach and learn from them.
List of the Biggest Cons of Zoos
1. Zoos pose several risks that particularly affect animals.
There are many problems that come with keeping animals in zoos. One of them is the confined spaces where the animals are forced to live in. Unlike their natural habitats where they can freely roam, these establishments keep them confined.
This is even worse for animals that need to migrate and move around a lot. For example, elephants normally travel long distances in groups, and by confining them into smaller spaces, it definitely goes against their migratory nature. Aside from elephants, other animals, such as lions, will not get the chance to hunt, making them more aggressive if they are not properly taken care of. This can arise more danger for zoo personnel, as well as visitors.
2. Natural animal behaviors are changed.
Captured animals that are brought to the zoos tend to develop behavioral problems, which causes concern for the overall well-being of all the resident animals.
3. Zoos take their toll on the mental conditions of animals.
For those captured from the wild, it takes a long time for them to adjust to being confined, and once they manage to adjust, they will be stressed out from the adjustment experience. And for animals that are born in the zoo, it would be like a double-edged sword for them because being released to wild risk their survival as they do not have the natural capabilities to hunt for themselves.
4. For critics, zoos are seen as places for human amusement.
Though zoos are seen positively when it comes to the aspect of entertainment, the fact that animals are captured and placed in captivity for the sole purpose of human amusement is one of the main reasons of the existing anti-zoo campaigns.
5. Many of the zoo establishments are struggling financially.
One of the primary reasons for this problem is the high cost of maintaining the resident animals against the lesser income from the visits by park customers and other funds. With this happens, a zoo would usually close down, leading to the animals either getting divided to be accommodated to other zoos, animal rescues or animals getting sold off to cover the debts the affected zoo might have incurred. What’s worse, the animals do not always go to people who may have their best interests in mind. For these reason, zoos can be detrimental for not just the animals in them, but for the staff as well.
6. Conservation is sometimes a pointless gesture.
While these establishments are really trying to do their best to let animals mate, their offspring are normally kept at the same zoo or simply moved to another one, which does nothing for the numbers of the species in the wild.
The most serious issue with zoos is that, while they do provide security and safety for a lot of animals, they can also provide major problems for the animals themselves. And though they provide a lot of benefits for researchers, they do come at a cost, whether it is worth the risk or not. For many people around the world, zoos represent an opportunity to experience seeing species that would be impossible to do otherwise. It all boils down to zoos serving a function as an educational, entertainment and research solution, in addition to providing animals a place to be secure. On your end, is it fair for the animals in house? By weighing the pros and cons, you will be able to come up with a well-informed decision.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.