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Who doesn't like to visit a zoo?
Like it or not, an array of wild animals in zoological parks can be found in every other country in the world. The question remains, do these zoos contribute to saving animals by offering them a safe environment, or are they just aggravating their sufferings?
A visit to the zoo reminds everyone of their childhood nostalgia. The chance of witnessing exotic wild animals in real life that were colorfully illustrated on the pages of biology books makes those visits extremely intriguing and special. However, have you ever thought about the life of these animals kept in zoos? The immense joy that zoo visitors derive from beholding live zoo animals is unparalleled, but the truth remains that, in real life, these places are miserable for most captive animals. In the current scenario, many wild populations are dwindling, almost to the verge of extinction. Animal protection is therefore extremely necessary to ensure ecological stability. Nevertheless, if you delve deep into the actuality of zoos, then what appeared to be a rosy picture would instantly dissipate. Now, the question remains is it time to release animals, or should animals be kept in zoos just for the visual delight of the human audience?
Keep reading to learn more about the truth of life behind the cage bars. Also, check out these engaging facts to learn about animal and plant cells for kids and why social media is good.
Remember the first time you went to the zoo, accompanied by your parents and siblings? However, have you ever wondered who made the first zoo? Let's look into the history of how zoos came to be established.
Firstly, what do you understand by the term 'zoo' or 'zoological park'? The concept of a zoo has changed with time. In ancient times, a zoo was an emblem of power and prosperity. The monarchs and nobility owned private collections or menageries where the local wildlife, such as giraffes, bears, birds, dolphins, and other exotic animals, were maintained. For instance, the king of Ur, Shulgi, of 2400 B.C. is credited with his collection of wild animals, but it was not open to the public. A zoo, therefore, refers to a place that is used to hold wild animals captive, open to the public's eyes. Zoological parks nowadays maintain animals, birds, and reptiles from all over the world. However, a long time back, in 1500 B.C. the world got its first-ever zoo. Queen Hatshepsut established the first zoo in Egypt, where she housed many wild animals collected from across Africa. After that, the Chinese emperor named Wen Wang established a zoo as a symbol of his power and wealth. The zoo, called the Garden of Intelligence, housed innumerable animals that existed within the boundaries of his kingdom. Are you aware of the oldest existing zoo? Franz Josef, the emperor of Vienna, constructed it in 1752 for his beloved wife. It goes by the name Tiergarten Schönbrunn. However, with the passage of time, zoos and their functions have evolved. The first modern zoo to be established was the London Zoo in Modern dern zoos are targeted at serving the members of the Zoological Society, where people will engage in studies and research. Gradually, other non-members also started pouring in via the recommendations of the members, and ultimately, the zoos were opened to all the public. Nevertheless, during the 18th and 19th centuries, people lacked awareness and knowledge about animal behavior, their diets, feeding habits, captive breeding, diseases, and other important factors. Due to this, a majority of the captive population prematurely perished in cages. Do you know who first started trading in exotic animals? It was Carl Hagenbeck.
It's disheartening for any animal lover to learn that every year a large number of animals are killed within zoo premises.
As per computations by In Defense of Animals, just in Europe, approximately 3,000-5,000 innocent animals are done away with annually. Surprised? Yes, this large-scale euthanasia is legal. Some animals are eradicated for understandable reasons. For instance, some animals are killed due to health issues, diseases, or old age. However, this is not true for all. Despite being perfectly healthy, many animals in European zoos are executed, and the reason for this heinous act is that the zoos are incapacitated to maintain surplus animals. Moreover, animals confined to zoos thrive for shorter periods when compared with those in the wilderness. Wild African elephants enjoy three times more longevity than captive ones. Safari parks are also not good as they leave no stone unturned to harm the animals. According to reports, the lions maintained by the Woburn Safari Park are kept enclosed in a small area for 18 long hours. Moreover, speculation revealed that these animals were not even entitled to proper sleeping spaces or individual areas.
Did you know that innumerable zoos in the UK engage in culling animals? Is it ethical? Let's unravel this.
The majority of the zoos in the UK fail to comply with the minimum standards for promoting animal welfare. Keeping animals in zoos is not considered unethical, especially when it's about repopulating an endangered species in captivity. However, some zoos go overboard in maltreating these captive wild animals. A shortage of sufficient space often leads to overcrowding. Due to this, the zoo authorities put down some of the captive populations. Most zoos fail to provide the natural habitats required for the animals' sustenance. Many a time, zoos take up unwanted exotic pets but fail to accommodate them properly and ultimately engage in culling. Zoos throughout the world engage in culling animals. As revealed by reports, zoos in Denmark, like the Odense Zoo and Copenhagen Zoo, are known for culling leopards, giraffes, and lions. While the Paignton Zoo in England has culled peacocks. Animals like the Siberian tiger, polar bear, Namibian lion, sea lion, Asian elephant, and others have been culled.
Every single country in the world boasts of having zoos. However, all zoos are not well-maintained, nor do they have enough space to house a large number of wild animals or engage in healthy breeding programs. Some of the pros and cons of keeping animals in zoos have been explained in detail below.
Have you heard of the Cincinnati Zoo? It's famed for being the United States' second oldest zoological park and botanical garden and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants and 500 animals. The zoo is renowned for its efforts to rehabilitate wildlife and breed animals in a natural environment. It successfully conducted the first captive breeding of Carolina sea lions. The last surviving passenger pigeon as well as the Carolina parakeet were housed on its premises. The conservation efforts of the zoo are reflected in their recreation of natural habitats as per the requirements of animals. For instance, in 1985, the zoo opened a natural habitat for housing the red panda by constructing a woodland landscape. Similarly, a spacious natural enclosure was also built for the polar bears in 2000. However, despite the commendable preservation techniques adopted by some zoos, there are many that fail to meet the basic requirements. It goes without saying that a zoo cannot provide wild animals with the amount of space that their natural habitat in the wilderness can provide. Enclosed within the boundaries of the cage, these animals lack environmental enrichment. Additionally, populations of several endangered species maintained by zoos are impacted due to mismanagement and a lack of proper funding. Only a handful of zoos benefit from the preservation of animals. Are you aware that zoos often sell out adult animals to make room for the young? Since baby animals are crowd pullers, zoos get rid of the older, less popular animals by selling them to game farms where they're slaughtered for meat or hide.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for should animals be kept in zoos, then why not take a look at 59 excellent El Salvador facts that you'll absolutely adore, or brilliant boreal forest Canada facts to learn why we need to conserve Canada's trees.
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