Animal Safe Haven or Unnecessary Prison?
Humans have an unquenchable interest with wild animals and millions of people go whale-watching, go on safaris, or drive to their local zoo to gaze at their favorite animals. However, many animal rights advocates believe that to hold animals in these simulated habitats is detrimental, especially when it comes to their conservation and welfare.
On the contrary, zookeepers and owners guaranteed that most of their parks or zoos have substantially developed in the last few decades. They point toward strides to eradicated enclosures made of steel bars and cold cement as one example of progress. Many zoos today use moats or ditches and other natural-looking barriers to seperate people from the animals. Many zoos also have created mini-habitats that bear a resemblance to the animals’ natural habitat which help put the animals at ease with their artificial surroundings.
Another bit of progress which zoos have made is that they have changed the procedure for acquiring animals. Previously, many zoo’s captured animals directly from the wild but today animals are often acquired through other zoos and captive breeding programs. Breeding programs are also used to aid in restoring species that are threatened to become extinct. In addition, care for the zoo animals has improved in many zoo’s. Keepers now understand that most animals not only need subsistence, but also activities that are engaging to prevent mental deterioration and boredom.
Aside from these efforts made by zookeepers, zoos also simultaneously influence the visitors traveling through. These simulated habitats don’t just entertain, they also intend to educate by teaching people about the importance of conservation and the needs of animals at the same time. Regardless of the many advantages a zoo can provide animals, critics still worry about the well being of animals being held. This is fear is not unfounded.
There is also evidences that zoos have their downsides as well. Some experts argue that even in the best zoo’s it is difficult to fill the needs of animals which require special humidity levels, special foods, and even elephants who are highly intelligent and well aware of their situation. Many animal experts believe that if these captive animals lived in their natural habitat, they would roam as much as 48 kilometers a day in large groups, splashing in the watering hole and grazing on leaves.
Despite the best efforts implemented by zoo owners and zoo directors in improving simulated habitats, many experts still harbor some legitimate concern over animal welfare. Without a doubt, many of these animals held captive show signs of critical distress. Some of the best examples are bears pacing back and forth and elephants dipping their heads. Animal behaviorists have asserted that their pang is understandable, as these animals would naturally run in open terrain. Furthermore, these animals are constrained to engage in unnatural mating and hunting activities at times as a condition of their captivity.
There are different way’s a person can see look at a zoo. Perhaps on one hand it is the best chance an animal may have for survival and perhaps a better life than the wild could provide. On the other hand zoo’s may prove to deprive animals even when the best efforts are made to do otherwise.
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