In today’s world, zoos are a meaningful part in a large number of people’s lives. Zoos are not only a home for animals, they are also a place for people to really enjoy themselves. Everybody has been to the zoo; they have fed the fish, enjoyed a show with seals, or just admired all of the wildlife. My Grandma and I used to go to Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska every year to do just these things. Henry Doorly Zoo is a place worthy of closer analysis because in 2016, TripAdvisor ranked it the number one zoo in the world. Henry Doorly Zoo has a countless number of stunning animals, though zoos inevitably upset the natural ecology for animals. Throughout the world, zoos are often a site of controversies. Henry Doorly Zoo faced some controversy when it brought in six African elephants from South Africa earlier this year. Critiques point out that elephants do not do well in captivity. However, the Zoo constructed the largest project in the Zoo’s history to make sure the elephants had an adequate home. In his encyclical Laudato Si’ Pope Francis states that we should not see “different species merely as potential ‘resources’ to be exploited” because they have “value in themselves” (Section 33). This statements suggests to zoos that they should not take in endangered or exotic animals for financial gain because these animals have worth other than money.
Henry Doorly Zoo first opened in 1894 as Riverview Park. The park had animals such as deer, and grizzly bear and 120 other animals. Now, Henry Doorly Zoo is a home to over 17,000 animals, and different 962 species. However, with all of these different animals in the zoo, it upsets the animals’ native ecology. Even under the best circumstances at the best...
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...ation. These arguments are all very good, but however you look at it the zoos still saved these elephants from death. The elephants will not have the freedom they used to have, but they get to live.
Pope Francis says in his encyclical that we should not think of different species as “potential ‘resources’ to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves” (Section 33). Some zoos acquire certain exotic animals and use them just to boost attendance and make more money. Did Henry Doorly Zoo acquire the African elephants to boost attendance and make more money? In all likelihood yes, but in a way they are still helping the elephants. Some people only see the animal as a means to exploit and do not see that the animals themselves have value to our world. All animals speak to people in different ways and praise God by their very existence.
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