Essay on Animal Conservation and Enrichment in Zoos

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Zoos have always reflected the curiosity and intrigue of humankind toward the animal kingdom. Throughout several different ancient civilizations dating back thousands of years, including Egypt, China, and all over Europe, caged wild animals were seen as divine representatives and sat next to the thrones of only the most wealthy and powerful. “Stone tablets found in the Sumerian city of Ur, dated to around 2300 BC, document the establishment and management of the earliest known animal park” (Hamilton 2007). In ancient Egypt, for example, tamed lions were often kept by the sides of pharaohs thrones (Bostock 7). In sixteenth century Europe as well, animal collecting among the wealthy was a popular sport. “King Manuel the First of Portugal…show more content…
The amount in which zoos contribute to science can be one of the major justifications of the institutions. Many zoos work hand in hand with universities and colleges to carry out detailed research studies that would be difficult to perform in wild settings. Science and research departments are found at many zoos and these departments conduct research through programs in the fields of taxonomy, behavioral research, and veterinary medicine research. It is actually far better to study taxonomy, anatomy, and morphology on living specimens, versus examining deceased ones. This is because behavioral and characteristic observations can be made on live species, which is often a significant taxonomic classification factor. “Zoos can provide living examples for the study of taxonomy or classification” (Bostock 155). The Wildfowl Trust collection at Slimbridge, the largest international wetland conservation, “is a far better taxonomic research center than any museum could be for studying the classification of swans. One can, for example, observe variations in plumage behavior patterns-which is important in the swan’s classification” (Bostock155). The study of behavior patterns, which requires live animals, is also useful in working out relationships between animals. Today, programs of behavioral and psychological research are especially important for zoo and aquatic institutions. Psychological
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