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Zoos

We do not agree with the idea of incarcerating animals for entertainment, we do not have a right to breed, capture and confine other animals An endangered species doesn’t mean that the individual animals should have fewer rights.

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In the month of October 2013, a Sumatran tiger cub, the first to be born at the London Zoo in 17 years, was found dead at the edge of the pool in its den, just two weeks old and before keepers could determine the sex. In the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, a senior zookeeper, John Bradford, was killed after being crushed by Patience, a 41-year-old Asian elephant. Tian Tian, the Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda, appears to have suffered a miscarriage six months after she was artificially inseminated.

 Animals in captivity suffer from stress, boredom and confinement.

Intergenerational bonds are broken when individuals get sold or traded to other zoos, and no pen or even drive-through safari can compare to the freedom of the wild.

Baby animals bring in visitors and money, but this incentive to breed new baby animals leads to overpopulation, which means that excess animals will be sold to other zoos, but may also end up in the circus, at hunting facilities – canned, as they will be habituated to humans, or perhaps even for slaughter. ‘Excess’ animals are often euthanised.

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The vast majority of captive breeding programs do not release animals back into the wild. The offspring are forever part of the chain of zoos, circuses, petting zoos, and exotic pet trade that buy, sell and barter animals among themselves and exploit animals. Foe example, for 34 years, Kowali the gorilla was a fixture at Lincoln Park Zoo until relocated in 2013 ., to provide social stability for a new troop at another zoo!

Removing individuals from the wild will further endanger the wild population because the remaining individuals will be less genetically diverse and will have more difficulty finding mates.  If people want to see wild animals in real life, they can observe wildlife in the wild or visit a sanctuary. A true sanctuary does not buy, sell, or breed animals, but takes in unwanted exotic pets, surplus animals from zoos or injured wildlife that can no longer survive in the wild. For example, the Drakenstein Lion Park in Paarl, don’t let the name fool you – it is a sanctuary for rescued lions. Sanctuaries also rehabilitate wildlife where they can, and take in unwanted exotic pets, without breeding, buying and selling animals like zoos do.

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If zoos are meant to be educational, an argument often given, what they certainly teach is that imprisoning animals for our  entertainment is normal and acceptable.

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Animals sometimes escape their enclosures, endangering themselves as well as people.

No matter how big some zoos try to make their enclosures this cannot ever compare to the natural habitat that the animals were meant to be in due to lack of space and stimualtion.

This is particularly the case for species, such as elephant who roam large distances in their native environment.  Studies confirm that elephants (who typically travel 30 miles per day) are confined to spaces, on average, 1,000 times smaller than their wild habitats and that polar bears have spaces approximately 1,000,000 times smaller than their arctic territories. Furthermore, abnormal repetitive behavior is the term for repetitive behaviors demonstrated by captive animals, which can cover all sorts of strange looking behaviors that are indicative of stress including pacing, head bobbing, swaying from side to side, rocking, sitting motionless and biting themselves. These behaviors, which are typical in many zoo animals, are attributed to depression, boredom and psychoses.

Zoos claim to care about conservation, but often their breeding programs are in place to maintain captive population. Zoos spend millions on keeping captive animals confined, as opposed to fighting to protect natural habits that are being destroyed at an alarming rate and threatening many endangered species.

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Zoos are also considered to be essential education tool, but children and adults alike learn far more from watching wildlife documentaries that observe animals in their natural habitats, or if funds allow, by going on an expedition to see them enjoying their lives right where they belong, in nature!

Animals are still taken by force from the wild. In 2003 the UK government allowed 146 penguins to be captured from the South Atlantic where they had to endure a seven day long boat journey, those who survived this grueling ordeal were then given to a wildlife dealer in South Africa before being sold to zoos in Asia.

In 2010, Zimbabwe made plans to capture two of every mammal species living in the Hwange National Park including lions, cheetahs, rhinos, zebras, giraffes and elephants, in order to send them to North Korean zoos. Thankfully the plan was stopped, but only after intense international pressure from varying animal rights organizations.

It would also seem that  79% of all animals in aquariums are wild caught.

The captive dolphin industry, which has been exposed by The Cove and the new documentary on SeaWorld, Blackfish, continues to be active in Taiji, Japan. A dead dolphin can bring about $600 USD on the Japanese market for its meat. But a live trained dolphin can fetch $150,000 or more on the global market, from dolphinariums that exploit these wonderful and intelligent animals to do tricks for tourists.

This last season, 250 dolphins were captured by the Taiji dolphin hunters and put in small, netted pens in Taiji harbor and other captive tanks around town. A recent check by an Earth Island volunteer showed most of those dolphins are now gone. Either they have died in captivity or they have already been shipped off to dolphinariums in Japan, China, the Middle East, and other destinations.

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(sources Huffington Post, Captivityagn, Care2, Captiveanimals.org)

 

 

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