Since their inception in Ancient Egypt, (Rose, 2009) zoos have a place in our society, and always will. They are living museums of the saga of all natural life; bearing witness to a countless parade of evolutional history. The public has an unalienable right to experience these ecological wonders in a safe, welcoming environment.
A. Education of the Masses
Zoos provide an invaluable service to the general public. Aside from being a fabulous source of entertainment on a sunny, summer afternoon, zoological gardens are a wondrous place for discovery and learning, regardless of age. Not many children are fortunate enough to travel extensively in their early years, and without the benefit of zoos, it’s reasonable to assume that many children would never see a lion, or a hippo, or a kangaroo. For example: up until I was five years old, before I personally witnessed a giraffe at the San Diego Zoo, I assumed that something that tall and bizarre looking could not be real, and therefore must have been exaggerated in books and encyclopedias.
Not only do zoos instruct the citizens of the world that giraffes are, indeed, eccentrically huge, but they also provide a connection you cannot glean from a book or the Internet, as Jack Hanna, leading animal expert and Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, points out:
After a fun experience at the zoo, people leave with a newfound knowledge and understanding. How are they going to learn these things if they don’t get to see the animals? Zoos and aquariums give people an appreciation for the animals. They need to see, listen to, and smell an elephant. Viewing an animal on TV does not give a person the same kind of love and respect for the creature as seeing it in person does.
People form connections with actual things they can see, hear, smell and touch. Zoos can also use these connections people form to...