ZOO: Opportunity for us or nightmare for the animals?

The word zoo comes from the Greek word “zoon”, which means “animal”. It’s a facility that hosed animals in enclosures, displayed to public, in order to conservate the endangered species, to provide zoological education but also to entertain the visitors and make profit. During the 19th century, zoological parks used to symbolize the royal power. Later, in 1970’s, when ecology started to emerge and flourish, zoos started to reconsider their roles. Many large zoos stopped having animals perform tricks for the visitors and take advantage of them.  Detroit zoological garden, for example, stopped its elephant show in 1969 and chimpanzee show in 1983, acknowledging that trainers sometimes abuse animals to get them to perform. The last years there are different opinions about zoos. On the one hand, some people consider the menageries as a great opportunity for people. On the other hand, some others believe they are just a nightmare for the animals which live enclosure there.

First of all, there is a belief that zoos give us all the opportunity to come in contact, meet and know things about animals we cannot find out in nature, either because they are dangerous (such as lions) or extinct (pandas). For some people, zoological parks are a big chance to conserve and protect endangered animals. Also, it allows scientist and zoologists to find animals, living in enclosures that attempt to replace their natural habitat and behavioral patterns, and “use” them for research purposes. So, many can say that sometimes zoos can provide education to public, inspiration and research source to experts.

But we have to consider that the enclosures are trying to provide animals with a habitat similar to their natural, but living in a cage and not in nature may cause big problems to them and change their behavior as well. About the wild ones, which are endangered, zoological gardens are problems, not a solution. The only way to really save them is to protect them in their own natural habitats. We must keep in mind that zoos began as amusements, where animals were abused in order to perform in front of the visitors and was exploited to make money. Although things have changed a little bit, animals in menageries are still caged, used as exhibits and zoos are still making profit taking advantage of them. In conclusion, it’s true that zoological gardens may sometimes offer education, inspiration and a big source for research purposes. However, in our opinion, every animal on the planet have the right to live free in nature and be protected in their own natural habitats. People and wildlife both shares the same space, the same environment sometimes, they suffer from the same problems, such as pollution, deforestation or even climate change, problems that have to do with the destruction of the natural world and have a really bad impact on everyone. So, both people and animals have to live free, near the nature and cohabit in order to survive.

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