Modern zoos are designed to give animals a high quality of life, with many species averaging a longer lifespan in captivity than in the wild. Zoos educate visitors, conduct important research, and help conserve threatened species through breeding programs and captive populations.
While success stories abound, most wildlife biologists consider SSP programs to be works in progress. AZA zoos have been instrumental, for instance, in establishing a stable population of bongos, a threatened forest antelope native to Africa, through captive breeding programs under the SSP program. Many of these captive-bred bongos have subsequently been released into the wild and have helped bolster dwindling population numbers accordingly.
Critics say everything a zoo does can be done without keeping the animals in captivity. With modern technology, it's possible to stream in to see animals in their natural habitat, and collect data on the animals remotely. It is morally wrong to deny intelligent creatures freedom.
But concern for caged animals has caught enough mainstream interest that New York and California introduced bills that would outlaw killer whales kept in captivity. Their focus on killer whales is in large part owed to a 2013 documentary called Blackfish, but it proves that it has become a concern for more than a fringe of animal-rights advocates. So much so, that last March, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said it would stop breeding captive killer whales. And if keeping an orca in large tank is unethical, then why not an elephant, a tiger, or a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla?
Something that really bothers me about The Dodo is how anti-zoo they are. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you're anti-zoo all that says to me is "I jump to conclusions without actually doing research" ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Zoos as a whole are not bad. Are there bad zoos? Absofuckinglutely. Yes. There are many zoos that use the animals as nothing but an attraction, a way to profit. BUT you need to understand how much proper zoos actually help out these animals. Breeding programs are amazing and have done wonders for sustaining populations of endangered animals. I was lucky enough to grow up in Peterborough, home of what I believe is the second most ethical zoo in Canada, and is also a free zoo that relies on donations. They've been wonderful with the animals and have even managed to breed an endangered tortoise in their captivity. Zoos are also how we can really learn about these animals and how to care for them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Please don't broadcast a message that zoos are wrong. If you want to help these animals than ensure that zoos are taking proper care of these animals, that they are educating the public and not just out for a profit.Being taken to the Riverview Zoo as a kid definitely helped influence my love and my passion for animals, I have fond memories of that place and I still love to visit whenever I'm home and it really saddens me to see people making blanket statements that simply are not true.