50 notecards = 13 pages (4 cards per page)
While some zoos provide educational programs, are involved in wildlife conservation, and attempt to preserve endangered species, most zoos are no more than prisons.
The only educational message the majority of zoos offers is
that it is okay to confine living, breathing, sentient beings for
The animals cannot run, roam, climb, hunt, forage, choose a partner, or be with others of their species.
What happens to these wild animals when kept in unnatural settings? They develop neurotic behaviors known as stereotypies. A sstereotype is a repetitive movement often found in humans with autism and mental retardation
If the animals are costing more to care for than the zoo is reaping in entertainment dollars or if the animals are getting too old to lure in paying customers, the animals are discarded.
They are often sold at auction to the highest bidders regardless of what those bidders intend to do with them.
For marine life, the ocean is their habitat—and the ocean is huge. Capturing them and putting them into an oversized swimming pool for our entertainment is putting their physical and psychological lives at risk.
They also develop skin problems from living in heavily
chlorinated water and suffer from ulcers and pneumonia as well as
Some species of dolphins can live more than 40 years and orcas can live to be 80—in the ocean.
Children meet real live farm and wild animals in a supposedly safe environment. However, the environment is not safe for the animals.
Most animals at petting zoos are babies. They need to be with their mothers and extended families.
But there are other health hazards present at petting zoos and these are to the people who come in direct contact with the animals. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and prions
The animals in these zoos are often fed inadequate and inappropriate diets for their species and rarely, if ever, are seen by a veterinarian.
Some of these animals may be drugged or have their teeth and claws removed to protect humans.
The word “sanctuary” means a place of safety. Whether seeking safety from spousal, political, or animal abuse, a sanctuary’s inhabitants find a safe haven in which they can recover from the damaging effects of the violence they have endured.
Animals in zoos are forced to live in artificial, stressful, and downright boring conditions.
Removed from their natural habitats and social structures, they are confined to small, restrictive environments that deprive them of mental and physical stimulation.
Moreover, while zoos generally claim to take in only the neediest of animals, most of the animals in zoos are not endangered, orphaned, or injured at
While a number of zoos make an effort to provide some sort of education, they mostly teach people how animals react in captive situations.
Patrons are unable to witness how multifaceted the lives of animals truly are. Instead, zoo-goers observe animals’ reactions to boredom, depression, and stress.
There are simply very few zoos that practice relevant and reliable research.
Moreover, living in captivity causes animals to lose their natural disposition to the extent that they become unrepresentative of their species.
These neurotic and atypical behaviors occur as a result of boredom, depression, frustration, a lack of mental and physical enrichment, and removal from their natural habitat and social structures.
Zoos seek out baby animals, knowing that they are most appealing to the public.
When they grow older, and therefore less attractive to patrons, they will often be sold or killed.
Animals who breed frequently, such as deer, tigers, and lions, are sometimes sold to game farms and ranches where hunters pay to kill them.
Other “surplus” animals are sometimes sold to roadside zoos (which are typically very poorly run), private individuals, animal dealers, or to laboratories for experimentation purposes.
Zoos cannot provide the amount of space animals have in the wild.
This is particularly the case for those species who roam larger distances in their natural habitat. Tigers and lions have around 18,000 times less space in zoos than they would in the wild.
A government-funded study of elephants in UK zoos found that 54% of the elephants showed stereotypies (behavioural problems) during the daytime.
African elephants in the wild live more than three times as long as those kept in zoos.
A CAPS study found that at least 7,500 animals – and possibly as many as 200,000 – in European zoos are ‘surplus’ at any one time.
In 2006 the whole pack of wolves at Highland Wildlife Park were killed after the social structure of the pack had broken down.
Many zoos train animals to perform tricks as if they were in a circus. Performing sea lions, birds and elephants.
Some training of elephants has been done using electric goads. CAPS infiltrated a training session held at Blackpool Zoo in 1998 and filmed elephants being trained to lift their feet and head, hold sticks in their mouths and jabbed with elephant hooks in the shoulder and head.
Zoos claim to breed animals for eventual release to the wild but breeding programmes are primarily to ensure a captive population, not for reintroduction.
Captive breeding is considered by some conservation scientists to be a diversion from the reasons for a species’ decline, giving “a false impression that a species is safe so that destruction of habitat and wild populations can proceed.
Polar bears have one million times less space
Lions in zoos spend 48% of their time pacing, a recognised sign of behavioural problems
Even Asian elephants working in timber camps live longer than those born in zoos.
The major problem with zoos is that the animals who live there are kept in enclosures that don't allow them to live their lives in a natural way.
No matter how big some zoos try to make the enclosures, no matter how many branches they put in them, no matter how beautiful they make the background paintings on the wall, they don't compare with the natural habitat the animals were meant to be in.
Elephants in the wild, are used to traveling many miles a day in herds of about ten related adults and their offspring. They are very social animals.
What makes life so difficult for zoo animals is that they hardly have any privacy and lack mental stimulation and physical exercise.
Animals like polar bears or felines are used to hunting; this habit is replaced by the zoo with regular feedings.
Once you start recognizing the signs of stress in zoo animals and understand how sad and boring their lives must be, zoos will look completely different to you.
Stress behaviors can include repetitive movements, pacing back and forth, head bobbing, rocking, repeatedly retracing their steps, sitting motionless or biting the bars of their enclosure or themselves.
The average lifespan of zoo elephants is about 16-18 years, while wild elephants can live 50-70 years.
This is because zoos don't provide the right environment for a successful captive breeding project.
Even though there are thousands of endangered species, zoos have only been able to return about 16 species to the wild with varying level of success.