Zoos, Why Do We Keep Exotic Animals In The Zoo?
Leopard Up Close Growling Through Cyclone Fencing
JUST WHAT ARE ZOOS ANYWAY?
As I stroll through the local Zoo in our area, I find myself questioning the reason for such places. I contemplate how they bring in revenue and are fascinating journeys into the life of the otherwise unknown world of exotic animals. But really, who decided to keep exotic animals in a zoo? I know from my college years that zoos were originally facilities that were created to hold and display wild animals mostly for recreation and education purposes. Humans have had zoos in several locations throughout the world for over 200 years.
Yet, there is little doubt that humans have captured and kept animals prior to recorded history. In these early times rulers and high powered citizens frequently kept herds of wild animals to show their power, wealth, and influence. These captive flocks were unlike modern zoos because--usually--they were not accessible to the public for viewing and education. So, where did the whole zoo idea take a turn toward what we visit today as the modern exotic animal parks we call zoos?
Zoos from Europe to U.S. - The begining
Vienna, Madrid, and Paris founded the first modern-day zoos back in the 18Th century and in London and Berlin in the early 19Th century. Philadelphia and Cincinnati, were the first in the United States to open zoos in 1870. These days, you can count well over 10,000 zoos, which bring to bear far more than 619 million visitors yearly (approximately 10% of the world population). These zoos range from roadside zoos operated by ill trained money grubbers to elaborate parks staffed with educated and well trained staff members.
As little as ten years ago, the zoos response to the reason for keeping animals in captivity was conservation, but as reported by Bob Mullen and Gary Marvin in Watching people watch animals--second edition, this response was a more rhetorical device for public relations rather than an actual primary function of most zoos. However in these past ten years, there has been a significant revision to the zoo strategy. The modern philosophy of the core zoo is that they must structure themselves in such a manner that they are perceived by the growing aware public, to be part of a global awareness of animal conservation. Zoos must genuinely make a connection between animals confined in zoos, to that of the potential fate of the natural world and the creatures which inhabit it.
We would all be well served to take a strong look at the pros and cons of today's zoos in this country. Primarily to lay to rest any remaining needless cruelty and bring about the humane treatment of these grand exotic animals which are displayed in some less than "standard" roadside zoos.
THE NEW ZOO ORDER
The new zoo requirements have been presented in three very direct and meaningful rules which have been put in place by the International Directors of Zoological Gardens—The World Zoo Organization and the Captive Breeding Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The three rules suggest that zoos should work towards proving their conservation and concern for the natural world and the creatures that inhabit it by:
The 3 Rules For Zoos
- Actively supporting, through coordinated programs, the conservation of population of species in situ and ex situ and, through these, to the conservation of natural habitats, biotopes, and eco systems.
- Offering support and facilities in order to increase scientific knowledge that will benefit conservation, and lending support to the conservation community by making available relevant knowledge and experience.
- Promoting an increase of public and political awareness of the necessity for conservation, natural resource sustainability, and the creation of a new equilibrium between people and nature.
WHAT YOU THINK REALLY DOES MATTER!
HAVE YOU VISITED A ZOO IN THE LAST 5 YEARS?
DON'T MISS THESE EXCITING ZOO READS!
- Zoos, Exotic Animal Captivity Education
Who and when did humans decide to keep exotic animals in captivity? An easy to follow guide defining the zoo concept from its inception to our modern day exhibits and animal collections. Zoo education.
- Zoos, Is Formal Education Enough to Get a Job at the Zoo
To get a job at the Zoo takes more than just a good education in zoo management. You have to know what internships, and hands-on experience is also required! Some fun shots of a white tiger!
White Tiger Face
THE ZOO CONCLUSION
In conclusion, it has always been the few special humans with the understanding and humanity towards all creatures that motivate any group toward the better treatment of exotic zoo creatures and domestic animals alike. In the beginning, zoos had a social response leading to a sense of power and well being for the elite and ruling people.
Thankfully over time this has evolved into something far more meaningful for the beasts involved as well as for the sake of our human existence. Co-existing in the realm of the natural world is as important for the creatures we study and protect, as it is for the humans who are at the heart of such important work. It is a fine line we travel upon when dabbling into the science of animal behaviour.
It is important to keep in perspective that how we proceed in our studies says more about our own human fate, than it does about the actions and outcome of our animal counterparts.