The Effects Of Housing Animals In Zoos

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When people think of a zoo what pops into their minds? They probably imagine a fun, educational place where kids can learn about happy little animals from watching them in enclosures. What comes to mind when I think of a zoo, however, is the opposite. I picture severely depressed and overly stressed animals trapped in cages too small to mimic their natural environment. The effects of housing animals in zoos can be detrimental to the animal’s health, increasing the probability of stress-induced diseases and stereotypic behavior, especially in Asian and Africans elephants. Although wild animals are anything but free from disease or injury, it is a more significant problem for them in captivity. According to Stephen Bostock, author of “Zoos and Animal Rights”, “the stress of being captured and transported can make an animal more liable to serious,” infection (67). He also mentions how the conditions in zoos can assist in the spread of infections and parasites (67). In addition to this, animals can be exposed to disease they would not normally face in the wild, diseases that they have no immunity built against. For example, primates catch tuberculosis and measles from humans and Antarctic penguins often die from aspergillosis as a result of not living in their natural aseptic environment (Bostock, 67). So even though zoo animals may be healthier in ways such as less minor injuries, the gap between them and their wild counterparts is not as big as people perceive. Elephants are
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