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.