To Zoo or Not to Zoo?

Topics: Biodiversity, Wildlife, Extinction Pages: 4 (1254 words) Published: March 19, 2014

To Zoo or Not to Zoo?
Zoos have been around for hundreds of years and have been enjoyed by millions and millions of people. All around the world, zoos provide the public with the chance to see and learn about rare animals. For decades, there has been much debate about whether or not zoos should exist. Some people argue that zoos are inhumane and should be closed. However, zoos are necessary because they provide us with invaluable knowledge and teach us about the world we live in. As far back as history reaches, “there is evidence of people keeping wild animals in cages” (Cobb, 2013). Many people argue that zoos are only used for human entertainment and serve no purpose to the animals or the world at large. While it is true that for a long time zoos were indeed primarily for entertainment, over time, most zoos have “transformed from commercial competitors into cooperating members of zoological organizations whose mission became wildlife conservation, research, education of the public, and captive breeding of endangered species” (Cobb, 2013). Zoos today concentrate heavily on teaching about the conservation of both the animals themselves and the habitats they come from, as well as taking active conservation roles around the world.  In fact, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums has spent “~U.S. $350 million per year on conservation actions in the wild” (Conde, et al, 2101). Seeing animals in real life, up close and personal, is vastly different than reading about them or watching a documentary. Some opponents of zoos argue that we should instead travel to an animal’s habitat to see them in their natural environment, but most of us would not be able to see the majority of the animals if it weren’t for zoos. Not only is travelling very expensive, but these habitats are not always safe. People, especially children, who are able to experience and learn about animals are more likely to appreciate them, care about them, and hopefully take steps to make our...

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