The importance of zoos

The zoo is a place where families and friends alike can travel to see their favorite animals up close. Some may argue that zoos are bad and promote the imprisonment of animals for entertainment. Although these creatures are locked inside and do serve the purpose of entertainment, the bigger picture is to educate, conserve, and research.  Zoos have been viewed as bad because of videos shared on social media, as well as personal ideologies about the cruelty of holding animals in captivity. Although these may paint a bad picture of zoos, behind those unsettling videos of animal treatment is the true purpose of these places.

Personally I feel that false labels of a zoo being “bad” or a “prison” are not accurate at all. Zoos have leaned away from the reputation of the past. The purpose of a zoo is not merely all entertainment. Zoos have evolved to focus on teaching the individual about the importance of caring for these animals. Sure, individuals can still go to the zoo and be entertained by the shows put on by the zoo keepers and the select animals. But during those shows the zoo keeper is educating the audience about the animal being put on display. And sure, the animals are locked up in habitats, but in a prison setting those in charge  do not care about what the inmate does. While in a zoo setting, the keepers are employed because they care for the animals and want to help them. An individual can not judge hundreds of zoos just because he or she saw a video on social media of one isolated incident.

At a zoo, most likely, there will be tests performed to further enhance the knowledge of the workers about the animals in the proximity. These tests have a specific purpose behind them. The tests could include ones that will help the worker better understand the behavior of the animals, help enhance the knowledge of nutrition and medicine, and get one step closer to conserving these animals.  In addition, there are breeding programs to help keep the population of certain species from dwindling to lower rates than what they already are. So how can something like that be labeled “bad” or a “prison?”

In all honesty, a zoo cannot be labeled as these negative things. I could understand if the workers did not care or the zoo did not try to help conserve these animals, or even educate these individuals about these animals and why it is important to care for them. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

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