Zoos: The Reality Of It All

Essay by KittyG122Junior High, 9th gradeA, July 2005

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There are too many zoos where animals pace metal cages and cramped outdoor enclosures. If there is a wild animal in a zoo, it just means that there is one less animal in the wild. It is better to see animals in the wild, not in captivity. Despite professed concerns for animals, zoos remain more "collections" of interesting "items" than actual havens. Zoos teach people that is acceptable to keep animals in captivity, bored, cramped, lonely and far from their natural homes. Zoos do not fulfill an animal's basic needs. Also, people don't go to the zoos to get educated. In addition, animals are bred with no intention of keeping them for life in zoos. Finally zoos are becoming 'arks that cannot disembark their cargoes'.

Zoos do not fulfill an animal's basic needs and harm the animals in captivity. Of the 1,417 licensed exhibitors, the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums have accredited only 138 zoos.

In other words ninety eight percent of the zoos in are not qualified to be zoos! An exhibit may look great to us, but usually it isn't doing much for the animals, unless it also incorporates a choice of behavioral opportunities, variety and freshness. For example, gorillas given a range of behavioral opportunities by caregivers are better off than those living without intervention. Most zoo enclosures are closely confined with lack of privacy and have little opportunity for mental stimulation or physical exercise, resulting in abnormal and self-destructive behavior called zoochosis. One place, that is home to rescued zoo animals, reports seeing frequent signs of zoochosis. They told of a time, when a group of chimpanzees entered their facility, and these chimpanzees would bite their own limbs from captivity-induced stress. The manager was quoted, saying, "Their hands we unrecognizable from all the scar...