Zoos

RamblingMad

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
After watching Black Fish, I stopped going to Sea World.

Now, I’m questioning if zoos make sense. Why keep animals in captivity at all? It seems cruel.

And the backlash finally hit circuses.

Is it time to rethink zoos?
 

pezgirlroy

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
In my mind it depends on the zoo. There are many zoos such as the Cincinnati Zoo, San Diego and others that do amazing work with helping animals and helping endangered species. I have an issue with places that are amusement parks but then also have a few animals.
 
  • Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    Most zoos now are not what they used to be. More of them now are about conservation. Many more animals would be extinct now if it wasn't for the efforts of zoos. Not to mention that people are more likely to care about something if they have a connection to it. So going to zoos and actually seeing animals up close makes it more likely for people to get involved. A couple of years ago, they were some elephants in an area of Africa that were going to be culled because there was not enough food to sustain the population. Our zoo was one of those that took in a family of elephants. They are alive and healthy and in a big, new exhibit now instead of being dead. Also, many animals have been injured and can not be released back in the wild and zoos take them in.
     

    clutter

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2001
    In my mind it depends on the zoo. There are many zoos such as the Cincinnati Zoo, San Diego and others that do amazing work with helping animals and helping endangered species. I have an issue with places that are amusement parks but then also have a few animals.
    Add the Columbus Zoo and the National Zoo to that list. They do so much conservation work. And like San Diego, they have a separate place that does most of the research. Both San Diego (Safari) and Columbus (the Wilds) research facilities are open to the public. The National Zoos (Smithsonian Conservation and Research Institute) is not. All participate in the Species Survival Plan, as does Disney and a handful of other places.

    So while I tend to agree that its not optimum to keep animals in captivity, zoos are a primary source of conservation information and inspiration. I personally know a wildlife conservation research scientist that was inspired by various zoos. :love:
     

    Southernmiss

    I am hazed everyday
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2011
    We just toured the St. Louis Zoo in July. A very nice and well kept zoo. I did feel sorry for the animals in captivity. They seemed to have a lot of conservation education available around the animals. The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is another well run zoo with Conservation and teaching tools. Today, I believe most large zoos are well run and in the best interest of their animals. There was a time when that wasn't always true.
     

    superme80

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2010
    Full disclosure: I haven't watched Blackfish, nor will I.
    I have no issue with Sea World or other places like that. Most of the zoos near me have fantastic rescue and rehabilitation programs. One of the zoos near me takes in animals that we taken in police raids or surrendered by the owners. These animals can never be released back into the wild. It is so wonderful for my children to learn about these animals first hand AND hear their stories and WHY you should never try to own a wild animal.
     
  • Eeyore daily

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2019
    There's a big difference between a circus and a zoo. And if you're going to argue of why we should keep animals in captivity then why have pets at all? Technically they are bred for captivity.

    I have nothing against zoos that ensure conservation and understanding of animals. I think some are necessary for animals that are nearing extinction or are mass hunted to help the population.
     

    Southernmiss

    I am hazed everyday
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2011
    There's a big difference between a circus and a zoo. And if you're going to argue of why we should keep animals in captivity then why have pets at all? Technically they are bred for captivity.

    I have nothing against zoos that ensure conservation and understanding of animals. I think some are necessary for animals that are nearing extinction or are mass hunted to help the population.

    That's a whole thread on it's own. LOL Having had 2 weeks with my son and his indoor cat--grew up with numerous indoor/outdoor cats -my mom loves cats. But never have I been around such a tempermental creature as this indoor cat. I keep letting her out and she loves it! Comes back in after 30 minutes, but she absolutely craves being outside.
     

    Lilacs4Me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2015
    We live in the neighborhood adjacent to a famous large zoo, and my kids' schools do a lot of partnership with the zoo because of our proximity. They have wonderful programs, both for educational purposes and for conservation efforts.
     
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    sonnyjane

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 11, 2009
    That's a whole thread on it's own. LOL Having had 2 weeks with my son and his indoor cat--grew up with numerous indoor/outdoor cats -my mom loves cats. But never have I been around such a tempermental creature as this indoor cat. I keep letting her out and she loves it! Comes back in after 30 minutes, but she absolutely craves being outside.
    Holy crap. I can’t even get started on all the reasons THIS is wrong!
     
  • pezgirlroy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 29, 2016
    Add the Columbus Zoo and the National Zoo to that list. They do so much conservation work. And like San Diego, they have a separate place that does most of the research. Both San Diego (Safari) and Columbus (the Wilds) research facilities are open to the public. The National Zoos (Smithsonian Conservation and Research Institute) is not. All participate in the Species Survival Plan, as does Disney and a handful of other places.

    So while I tend to agree that its not optimum to keep animals in captivity, zoos are a primary source of conservation information and inspiration. I personally know a wildlife conservation research scientist that was inspired by various zoos. :love:
    I absolutely should have mentioned the Columbus zoo. You are completely right.
     

    kimblebee

    now my thoughts will be worth 5 cents
    Joined
    May 28, 2009
    Our zoo has the best and largest polar bear area. It also has conservation. One of our polar bears lived to be 42- the oldest ever recorded.

    Having all this, I haven’t been to our zoo in decades. I find them so boring.
     

    Southernmiss

    I am hazed everyday
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2011
    Holy crap. I can’t even get started on all the reasons THIS is wrong!

    ?? We sit on the porch while the cat is outside and she sits on the porch. What's the big deal? It's not like she's wandering around. Very safe and we are right there.
     

    BrianL

    Doom Buggy Driver
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    I agree with most here that most modern zoos (at least in the US) are very much about conservation and helping animals, and I will include Disney in that list. I know that Black Fish brought some things to light about how Sea World originally got their orcas, but I also think that was a different era and they do try to do better now. Those orcas can't be released into the wild, so as long as they care for them as best they can I am okay with it (though I haven't been to Sea World in many years). Epcot also has some marine mammals in The Seas at Epcot, but they are rescues and cannot be released - they would not survive (I love that big guy with the injured flippers). I know it's difficult to reconcile at times, but I do think most zoos try to do what's best. I know ours (Memphis) has made great strides since I was little in creating great, new, natural habitats and the animals seem to do well there. If they could just breed those pandas or polar bears....
     
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    ImDMous

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 1, 2011
    I'm in San Diego so I'm pretty spoiled with our Zoo and Animal Park. Also I know how much Sea World does during seal pupping season and the hundreds of beach rescues they do every year. The Animal Park just had the first southern white rhino born in North America using artificial insemination and are going to try to use mom as a surrogate to have a northern white rhino (only 2 left in the world). I remember as a kid (30+years ago) going to the Zoo and everyone was living on concrete. It is nothing like that now, I wouldn't mind living in some of the habitats they have there.

    I've been to a couple of smaller zoos while traveling, Santa Barbara and Portland, and they were really nice too. Definitely had less space to work with but you could tell they were trying to make all of their enclosures more natural and encourage behaviors you would see in the wild.
     

    RangerPooh

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2005
    Most modern zoos have an emphasis on conservation and education. Ones that are AZA accredited have gone the distance to ensure that enclosures are modernized and programming is in place to conserve and educate the public, all while held to higher standards of care. My husband was the curator of education for a large zoo in Michigan and they had an amazing facility. Many of their animals were part of the SSP (species survival plan), and had a large focus on education. Because of his experience working for the zoo our family has high standards in which zoos we visit. We support AZA accredited ones, not those that are roadside attractions.

    Likewise with wildlife rehab places. It needs to be fully licensed for care. DH worked in wildlife rehab while in college. He obtained the licensing requirements for the state and federal level, and the center that he worked for was fully licensed. The rehabbed native wildlife, released those that they could, and used others for educational programming. It frustrates me when I see people claiming to do rehab but really just have wild pets that they improperly care for and let others interact with.

    There are many zoos across this country that have been working hard the last 20+ years to convert their zoos to modern facilities with fewer bar and concrete slab enclosures that were small and depressing. Instead you'll see ones that feel more lively and authentic...well as authentic as you can get for a zoo in an urban area. They are investing in the future of animal care and educating the public. Without zoos and the conservation that many provide there would be some species that are extinct. The California Condor is a great example.

    I have never seen Blackfish and do not plan to. I fully support Sea World and the value that it adds to conservation, the same way that I support Disney's AK. Education, conservation, and exposure are key to creating an informed and aware society.
     

    RangerPooh

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2005
    I know ours (Memphis) has made great strides since I was little in creating great, new, natural habitats and the animals seem to do well there. If they could just breed those pandas or polar bears....
    The Zambezi exhibit and Teton Trek and fantastic examples of how zoos are modernizing their facilities. There's still growth to be made elsewhere, but strides are being made with the limited space that they have.
     

    BrianL

    Doom Buggy Driver
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2013
    The Zambezi exhibit and Teton Trek and fantastic examples of how zoos are modernizing their facilities. There's still growth to be made elsewhere, but strides are being made with the limited space that they have.
    Yeah, I am hoping they use the old hippo space for something new and awesome. I remember how that zoo was back in the early 80's though - it had the big stone buildings for the big cats and gorillas and such. They had inside and outside sections and at least the animal could pass between them freely, but still (the current "Cat house Cafe" was in fact part of the big cat house). When they moved the entrance and built "Cat Country" they really changed things and all the new exhibits since have been much nicer for the animals.
     

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