6 Pros and Cons of Zoos

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We live in a world with a diverse collection of animals that all contribute to the circle of life. Each species has a special purpose to fulfill, and this intricate combination of functions allows ecosystems to thrive and survive.

There are, however, some animals that are not coping well with the changes our world are facing. From climate change, to loss of habitats, many species are being pushed to extinction. That’s why zoos have become a popular relocation site for many animals whose lives and natural habitats have been put in the path of danger and destruction. There are many benefits and downsides to zoos, however, and here are a few of them.

What Are the Pros of Zoos?

1. Allows an Up-Close Encounter with Animals to Facilitate Better Learning.
Schools and other organizations require their students to learn about animals and other species as a part of curriculum. While there are textbooks and published articles that can offer information on animals, there is still nothing better than a firsthand experience. Zoos allow students to gain access to up-close encounters with animals to facilitate better learning.

2. Encourages Individuals to Protect Species that are Endangered.
The more you know about something, the more likely you are to feel compelled to do something to protect it. There are lots of animals in the wild that face a multitude of man-made dangers, and by allowing people to learn more about these animals, they are more likely to develop compassion and thus make an effort to reduce the risks and dangers these animals face.

3. Provides a Home for Animals that are Deemed Incapable of Surviving in the Wild.
Some animals have features and characteristics caused by genetics that inhibit them from thriving in the wild. For example, a Bengal tiger with a white coat might have a hard time finding food in the wild because of its obvious color. Zoos provide a home for these animals so they won’t have to hopelessly fend for themselves.

What Are the Cons of Zoos?

1. Puts Some Animals at Risk of Maltreatment and Abuse.
There are handlers and zoo personnel that will get used to having so many species of animals around. Just like any other employee, there will be slackers that work in zoos. This puts the animals at risk of being treated poorly or even abused.

2. Some Animals Would Thrive Better in the Wild.
There are animals that are captured or found in the wilderness that are brought to zoos simply because that particular specie does not have problems with their population. While this does seem harmless, some of these animals would thrive better in the wild than they do in zoos.

3. Limitations of Space and Natural Necessities.
Zoos have to provide enclosures, cages, and limited spaces to keep their animals in one place. This is not ideal for animals because they live best in wide open spaces. A wild bird for example, cannot thrive as well in an enclosed space as it would in the wilderness.