Zoo's Efforts to Help Conservation Essay

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Since approximately 1250 B.C., ancient Egyptians had created and practiced the capture and display of animals in what are now known as zoos (Fravel). Records describe such exotic animals as birds, lions, giraffes, and tigers in captivity (Fravel). Since then, zoos have continued to entertain millions with the exciting chance to view exotic animals up close and personal. Even in ancient Greece, exotic animals were on display in fighting arenas, and in enclosed viewing areas. Originally in America, zoos were just created so that royalty and the wealthy could flaunt their exotic animals to the public (Leolupus). Today, with species threatened and habitats disappearing worldwide, zoos are serving a new purpose other than the mere exhibition of…show more content…
Examples of zoos that are well known for such programs include Animal Kingdom in Orlando, the Oakland Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo. These three have won multiple awards and achievements for breeding, conservation, and reintroduction of endangered species to their natural habitats. Many zoos across North America participate in such programs like the Species Survival Plan Program (SSP), which strives to increase the numbers of endangered species in zoos while ensuring healthy and self-sustaining populations (Traw). According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), programs like SSP have succeeded in increasing endangered species populations of many animals, like red wolves, snow leopards, and giant pandas within the last three decades (Traw). It has been estimated that the AZA has established around 113 SSP’s spanning over 181 endangered species within a variety of zoos worldwide (Traw). Breeding programs are extremely vital to conservation efforts in zoos; without them, endangered species would be in serious threat of extinction in their natural habitat. However, these breeding efforts also have important standards. They make sure to breed the animals responsibly, healthily, and genetically safe. In some cases, the goal and outcome of breeding programs is the reintroduction of the animals to their natural habitat, which has a large impact on the recuperation of that animal’s population.Reintroduction is the goal andfinal product of breeding programs.
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