Zoos: Sanctuary Or Burial Grounds?

1544 Words7 Pages
Alexis Wise
Amy Strole
English 101.01
March 10, 2018 Sanctuary or Burial Grounds? Menageries, Animal parks, Safari parks, game reserves, petting zoos, or just zoos. All of these are places in which animals are kept enclosed, confined and on display. "While zoos have put more emphasis on conservation and humane animal treatment in recent decades, some critics say it is cruel to keep animals in captivity. Critics argue that living in captivity takes away wild animals natural behavior and instincts. Supporters of zoos say they play an important role in protecting endangered species." (National Geographic 34). Are zoos in fact harming the very animals they try to protect, or are they playing a valuable role in protecting and conserving animals
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Michael Hutchinson an American Zoologist and director of the Department of Conservation and Science for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, who explained that during the past decade, zoos have shifted their focus from preserving species through captive breeding programs to preserving habitats and species in the wild. Zoos have helped support conservation by informing the public, raising money for conservation programs, advancing veterinary medicine, coordinating scientific research, and developing animal handling techniques. Hutchinson also believes that the primary benefits zoos provide to society as a whole are education and conservation of species and habitats, and that having dual goals of animal welfare and conservation provides a strong ethical justification for zoos and aquariums. "The central question we need to answer as caring people is: do the benefits of accredited zoos to society outweigh cost to individual animal welfare?" (Kuehn 7) Hutchinson writes. The embrace of conservation by zoos doesn’t always sit well with their own history though, the American zoo that emerged in the 19th century was portrayed as a center of natural history, education and conservation. Everyone soon found out, however, that zoos have always been in the business of entertainment. This realization led many people to be skeptical to the idea that zoos can actually…show more content…
While an argument can be made that certain zoos are not equipped to house specific animals and need to further their efforts in providing a proper substitute for their natural habitat. It can also be said that some causes of distress or even death cannot be controlled due to the region in which the zoo is located, and the species of animal they house. The efforts made by places like Amboseli Park and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Department are a glimpse of hope for conservation and the steps that are being made to spread and enlarge the efforts to conserve the planets wild life whether on the brink of extinction or otherwise. Throughout the studies that were researched a definitive answer still never came clear, zoos can seem like they are causing harm by confining these wild animals, and in some cases, that’s true, but they are also valuable tools in educating the public and breeding animals that may not have a fighting chance in the wild. The ethical grey area in this debate can only be further defined in more elaborate studies and in outweighing the damage caused to the aide given in wide varieties of zoos around the

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