Should We Get Rid of Zoos?

This is a topic that is frequently discussed as it is something that is extremely controversial. Some say that zoos take animals out of their natural habitat and force them into alternative locations, while others say that they are a paramount source of entertainment that doesn’t violate any regulations or precautions. How do we know right from wrong and ultimately decide what the true location of these animals is?

“People forget the good that zoos do. If it weren’t for zoos, we would have so many species that are extinct today.” (Betty White) This statement is surprisingly true as most people disregard the fact that zoos while serving as an entertainment source, are also protectors of the environment. Some species in the world are in danger of reaching extinction, so on many occasions, zoos are the ultimate solution for this problem. Those who run the zoos take these selected animals out of their endangered habitat, and place them in zoos. Zoos soon become their new home, one that can be altered and ultimately be catered to that species’ needs. 

Although promising support of zoos, some also argue that zoos create an artificial environment for animals in which they cannot thrive and live to their full potential. Their range of space is confined, routines are altered, and daily life is quite different. What was once acres of land to roam around and spend their days is now transformed into a small fraction of that, leaving minimal space for leisure. Additionally, if and when these animals eventually get released back into the wild, their lives would never be the same. These animals were unspokenly trained to live a specific lifestyle in which their day by day activities consist of humans admiring their presence. They are certainly not the same animals prior to entering the zoo, and will remain different if their presence is no longer needed. These animals would not be able to survive living in the wild if they were to return since their whole lives had completely changed. 

So where’s the truth within both views of this issue? Are zoos really this destructive habitat or are they simply the escape from extinction? I believe that the truth lies somewhere between these two perspectives. Zoos, historically yes, act as an activity for individuals for enjoyment. But they are also locations that protect animals from extinction that would be caused by increased predator populations or possibly destruction of habitats. The artificial habitats created in zoos are obviously different from their original ones, but they are created to protect and save the wild. Zoos contribute to the protection of wildlife, and the scientific study of animal behavior. As animals are kept in zoos, scientists study their behavior to understand and later educate the public on animals’ methods of survival. Do you think zoos are truly as bad as people make them out to be?

About the author

Julia Zislis