What is with all of these anti-zoo conversations around here? Is Hubpages a place for zoo-hating moms to congregate? Seriously, I feel weird being here sometimes.
The benefits of zoos far outweigh any negative repercussions that could arise from captive animals. I honestly cannot list them all. But let's consider for a moment that in many animals' native homes, they not only have to battle for their lives every day by eating enough food just to sustain themselves while also not being eaten by something else, they also have to traverse busy roads, dodge bullets from poachers or legal hunters, and try their luck raising a family in an increasingly diminishing territory. Even one injury from a feral dog, clip from a car's bumper, or attack by a rival or predator could result in lowered immune systems which could lead to nasty infections and a slow, but inevitable death. All of this isn't even mentioning parasites such as worms, mites, and ticks, which can also become rampant if an animal's immune system dips below a certain threshold from as simple a reason as stress. Animals must always be in on their A-game, they always have to be ready to run the fastest, fight the hardest, and eat the right foods. If they fall behind, they're liable to be picked off by predators, disease, etc. Animals are often romanticized as being "natural" and "free" in the wilderness, but in actuality they are literally fighting for their lives with everything that they do.
Do we see this kind of struggle in appropriately managed zoos? No. We do not. It is unfair to assume that all animals dream of being free and wild. Why would anyone want to be hunted instead of cared for? Anthropomorphizing aside, animals in captivity are safe, and keeping animals safe is good.
Zoos also imprint on young generations. They imprinted on me, and they still do today. They teach children that there is a vast array of multi-colored wonders of all different shapes and sizes waiting for us to discover, explore, and learn about. There are other living creatures we share our lives with, and zoos allow up-close encounters with these creatures. A zoo can be vastly more engaging than a documentary, or even when you're looking at an animal 1 mile away through binoculars. At a zoo, an animal can look at YOU, smell YOU, sometimes even touch YOU. It's in real time and it can be very humbling to see these rare creatures up close.