The Community Zoo | Humane Animal Conservation or Barbaric Exploitation?

How do zoos help animals?


When Harambe, the Western Lowland Gorilla, was shot to death in his own enclosure a fresh wave of fierce opposition for the role of modern zoos was unleashed. There has since been an uproar against the plight of animals held in captivity for the entertainment of humans and then doomed to a miserable death. Critics and animal lover everywhere call this cruel and unethical behaviour.


There is a substantial basis for this sentiment. Animals are a terrific spectacle and an entertaining object lesson. It has led to the establishment of cruel “roadside” zoos which merely capitalise on the captivity and inevitable death of many unfortunate animals.


On the other hand, to a group, the greedy and exploitive in with the professional, qualified and well-meaning, would be a serious error. Many of the institutions that house and exhibit animals do so with the best intentions and many positive results.


Responsible zoos and aquariums exist with the best interests of the animals they care for at heart. Furthermore, the programs to study and care for these animals has been invaluable to conservation efforts that hope to restore the natural populations of endangered species.


It is a well-acknowledged fact that the planet is currently enduring the “6th” great extinction. Sad to say, unlike the previous extinctions, this extinction will be caused by the irresponsible actions of humanity on the planet.


At this crucial point in the history of the planet, zoos and aquariums stand as the last bastions of hope for many species that would otherwise have succumbed to oblivion as the Dodo, Black Rhino and Tasmanian Tiger have already.


Applying for sophisticated breeding programs and a wealth of knowledge gleaned from zoos over thousands of years, the modern zoos alone is capable of introducing programs to re-propagate the species and restore life into endangered species in critical regions. Consider the Arabian Oryx, this remarkable species was hunted to the point of extinction, and the last free antelope was shot down in 1972. Nevertheless, the few remaining Oryx that survived in the Phoenix Zoo were able to reproduce plentifully, and soon 200 more Arabian Oryx were born to the nine surviving Oryx. Today over 1000 of them roam freely across the plains between Jordan and Oman.


The Arabian Oryx is only one example of the great success possible because some beautiful animals are kept in zoos. Within these enclosures, they can be studied, observed and possibly reintroduced into the wild if needs arise. The Oregon Spotted frog and European bison are two more examples of success stories in the making.


Of course, no amount of good intentions can take priority over the health and well-being of the animals being held in captivity. However, the many zoos and aquariums that have received approval from humane conservation program have very advanced installations. While their lives are nothing like they would be in the wild, the life of the animal in captivity can be long and happy.


If you aren’t sure, head on down to the nearest zoo of your choosing and see for yourself. In the end, the debate will still be going on if zoos are right for animals or not. It’s all comes down to our perspective of seeing the reality and act upon it. In the city of Guwahati,, we have a great zoo which posses potential to be one of the finest zoo in Northeast if not in India. The tourism growth of a city rise significantly if there is a healthy zoo resides in the area.


Why Do We Still Need Zoos?

Importance of zoo

Zoos are a controversial topic for a lot of people. Those who are against the existence of zoos feel that they are harmful to animals – that animals do not have the quality of life that they should have when they are kept in captivity and paraded in front of the general public like a spectacle. Zoo detractors worry that animals are caught in the wild and brought to captivity, instead of being left in their natural environment. In the days before video existed, the only opportunity for people to see animals was in zoos – but those days are long gone, and there are now better ways of educating people.


While that makes sense, to an extent, zoos do make a significant contribution to animal welfare. Some endangered species are being bred in captivity, and the offspring are being released into the wild. The breeding pairs that are being kept in zoos are the only animals that are entirely safe from illegal hunting, and without those zoos, the animals could well be extinct. Yes, in an ideal world there would be no hunters – and no zoos – but we cannot individually police every single person, and keep every wild animal safe. As long as hunters exist, we need a way to protect endangered species.


Another issue is that of deforestation, forest fires, and other issues that are affecting animals – and even plants. The environment is changing. Some of those changes are human-made, some are not. Some are hotly debated by politicians, although scientists have explicit beliefs based on current evidence about how much influence mankind is having on the environment. Zoos offer a chance to preserve parts of the environment, with climate controlled, safe spaces for animals that are finding their natural habitats under threat.


There is a lot to be said for giving people the chance to see animals in the flesh too. While some feel that keeping animals in captivity is barbaric, too many young children, seeing those animals is awe-inspiring, and they become more concerned about the environment and care more about animals – endangered or otherwise. For animals that have been in captivity for many years, and those born in captivity, zoos are a comfortable place, and they can do an excellent service there.


Perhaps, for now, keeping zoos is a good idea. If the zookeepers are trained to be humane, the food is appropriate for the animal, and the animal gets sufficient space to exercise, and adequate socialization with other animals, then their life will be good. Perhaps not ideal, but as good as we can make it for animals that might otherwise have no life at all. That’s the question that we are facing right now after decades of damage to the earth, and given that question, we need to take small steps forward and practically fix the problem. Maybe our grandchildren will be in a better position to ask the question again.