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I love going to the zoo, you get to see monkeys,
and lions and tigers and bears oh my!

But are they really such a great thing?
Hey animal lovers, Julia here for DNews
I’ve loved zoos my whole life.
Really.
There was one I remember that made me wanna
want to share how awesome animals are!

Fast forward a few years and well here I am.
Making videos about science and animals on
the internet.

But now, I’m older, wiser and really ambivalent
about zoos.

Zoos have changed a lot since their conception.
Environments used to be basic, easy to build
and didn’t provide animals with the opportunity

to interact with their surroundings, which
was detrimental to their health.

Think of classic zoos, animals in a small
cage with nothing but concrete and bars.

Zoos today have changed this practice into
providing “enriched environments” which

include increasing space, adding natural sound,
and introducing elements of their natural

environments.
But most of the time changing the cage in
which an animal is held isn’t enough since

what the animal may find stressful is hard
to assess.

When these stresses go unnoticed the results
can be really bad.

For example the most recent loss was an entire
stingray population at the Chicago Zoo because

of low oxygen levels in their tanks.
In this case it was a malfunction of the habitats
“life support system” that caused the

death of four southern stingrays and 50 cownose
rays.

This is the second incident that has taken
place at the Chicago Zoo, in 2008 they lost

19 stingrays to a heating malfunction and
they have decided to close the exhibit for

good.
Light and sound also have negative effects
on animals held in captivity.

According to a study published in Applied
Animal Behaviour Science noise levels measured

in two Northern California zoos had sounds
ranging from 62 to 72 decibels compared to

the noise levels of a rainforest, which can
average about 27 db.

Light levels are also higher than they’re
supposed to be, maintaining a low light situation

keeps animals less aggressive but if you don’t
have any lighting how are you supposed to

see the animals?
When it comes to feeding nothing seems easier
than to have your food delivered and served

but when it comes to lions and other carnivorous
animals getting served zoo slop can actually

put them in danger.
Researchers at the San Diego Zoo studied cheetahs
and their eating habits while in captivity.

They gave one group the regular zoo cuisine
of ground horse meat with a mix of vitamins

and minerals but gave a second group thawed
bovine fetus or half of a large carcass.

They noticed the group eating the carcasses
took more time chewing and smelling their

food than the first group.
Pretty much they acted as they would normally
in the wild, besides the hunting part.

Researchers discovered that processed foods
lack a “hassle factor” which cheetahs

need to dull down their their molars and is
critical for good dental hygiene.

The treatment of elephants are at the forefront
of the debate against zoos.

Elephants are used to living in huge matriarchal
families and are innately social creatures,

by being held in captivity with only one other
elephant, that they may not even be compatible

with, causes stress and shortens their lifespan.
Elephants in captivity only live half as long
as those who live in natural wildlife preserves.

African elephants can expect to live to 36
years old in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park

compared to zoo elephants who live to be about
17 years old.

Although some accredited zoos, like the Bronx
Zoo and the San Diego zoo are able to extend

the lives of their elephants, the San Diego
boasts some of their elephants live to be

40 years old.
But not all zoos have the money to keep their
parks running.

Most zoos struggle with financing all of the
needs of their animals, employees and maintenance

of their parks.
Some zoos apply for accreditation through
the Association of Zoos and Aquariums but

only 10% of the 2,800 zoos in the U.S. actually
get it this also distinguishes zoos from “roadside

zoos” which are known for animal endangerment
and mismanagement.

In order to be part of AZA each zoo must go
through a process where experts examine the

zoos to make sure they are up to code and
have employees who are qualified to work in

those environments.
Accreditation matters because it makes these
zoos eligible for grants, able to breed and

loan animals with other zoos and hire the
best workers in the business.

But before you go rally and protest your nearest
zoo, it’s not all bad news bears.

I cannot overstate the great educational value
of zoos.

Zoos are a great place to learn about animals
for young and old alike.

It’s a place to literally come face to face
with some of the rarest animals in the world.

Zoos introduce people to what the animal populations
are like around the world and educate people

about conservation efforts.
Visiting a zoo might even get you to donate
to these efforts.

Meeting a Mountain Gorilla in person might
make you want to save this endangered animal.

And zoos want to save endangered species too.
Dozens of zoos in North America actively participate
in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species

Survival Plan Program (SSP), which concentrates
on finding dwindling populations, bring them

into captivity and growing them until they
are ready to be released into their natural

habitat.
SSP related programs have bolstered populations
such as black-footed ferrets, California condors

and red wolves.
Zoos also provide health care and services
to animals who need it.

Many animals held in captivity were found
in the wild wounded or stranded.

Zoos give these animals a second chance at
life, one they wouldn’t of gotten had they

been left in the wild.
When it comes to pros vs cons, as long as
they are well managed and accredited and they

work on creating more natural habitats for
their animals, zoos bring people closer to

nature and might help save some of the most
imperiled species on the planet.

What do you think?
How do you feel about zoos?
Do you have a favorite zoo?
Tell us some of your recent zoo experiences
down in the comments below.

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我們該支持或反對動物園 (The Pros & Cons Of Zoos)

206 分類 收藏
詹士緯 發佈於 2019 年 6 月 11 日
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