Did you know? The majority of animals in popular zoos are not endangered but were plucked from the wild (or, in some circumstances, obtained through illegal trafficking) to live in cramped enclosures so that humans might be entertained. This goes against the popular argument that zoos exist to protect species from extinction – a seemingly noble goal.
As it is, wild-animal parks often favor large and charismatic animals to draw a crowd but neglect less popular species that also need to be protected. And, while confining animals in zoos keeps them alive, the practice does nothing to protect wild populations and their habitats.
In addition, captive animals are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. As a result, the physical and mental frustrations of captivity can eventually wear on them, resulting in abnormal, neurotic, and even self-destructive behavior. Many even suffer from a condition called “zoochosis,” which manifests as incessant pacing, swaying, head-bobbing, bar-biting, and self-mutilation.
Zoos breed animals because the presence of babies draws even more visitors and boosts revenue. But after the animals’ “cuteness” has been outgrown, their fate is often bleak. It is not unheard of for the parks to dump unwanted animals with traveling circuses or into the wild. Doing so, of course, is a death sentence, for the animals were denied the opportunity to learn survival skills in captivity, can transmit diseases to their wild counterparts, and often have no natural habitat left to return to because of human encroachment.
In fact, humans are largely responsible for the swift decline of the world’s biodiversity. According to a 2004 report by the World Conservation Union, human activities that cause pollution, climate change, and the destruction of animals’ habitats are currently placing more than 7,000 animals species in jeopardy of extinction.
The millions of dollars that zoos regularly squander – on redesigning enclosures that do little to nothing to improve animal welfare, erecting statues and amusement rides, and building gift shops and concession stands – would do far more to help animals if spent on habitat preservation projects.
One only needs to view the five videos below to conclude that doing so would be a worthy investment of time and resources. These animals clearly would prefer being in their natural habitats:
Gorilla Charges And Breaks Glass
Lion Claws at Enclosure
Beluga Startles Children
Example Of Zoochosis
9 Animals Driven Insane
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