Essay on Animal Conservation and Enrichment in Zoos

Essay on Animal Conservation and Enrichment in Zoos

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Zoos have always reflected the curiosity and intrigue of humankind toward the animal kingdom. Throughout several different ancient civilizations dating back thousands of years, including Egypt, China, and all over Europe, caged wild animals were seen as divine representatives and sat next to the thrones of only the most wealthy and powerful. “Stone tablets found in the Sumerian city of Ur, dated to around 2300 BC, document the establishment and management of the earliest known animal park” (Hamilton 2007). In ancient Egypt, for example, tamed lions were often kept by the sides of pharaohs thrones (Bostock 7). In sixteenth century Europe as well, animal collecting among the wealthy was a popular sport. “King Manuel the First of Portugal received monkeys and macaw’s from South America, grey parrots and baboons from Africa, and elephants, rhinoceros, and cheetahs from India” (Bostock 24).
Today, zoos often receive a lot of criticism for merely displaying wild animals for pure entertainment reasons, and without a conservation or protection purpose. Both zoos and aquariums have often been criticized for being unethical, and the premise of captivity is said to be detrimental to the cause of conservation (Maple 5).
However, zoos and aquariums reflect responsibility to help and promote animal conservation and protection. Without them, many may have never gotten the chance to see exotic animals such as tigers, elephants, or giraffes up close to examine and learn about their nature. Without zoos, almost all of the best observational, behavioral, biological, or genetically based research on several diverse species would have not been possible. And, without zoos and the help of fundamental captive breeding and reintroduction programs with...

... middle of paper ..., it is humankind's’ responsibility to continue to protect and save the animal kingdom.


Bostock, Stephan S. Zoos and Animal Rights: The Ethics of Keeping Animals. London: Routledge, 1993. eBook.

"Conservation." Woodland Park Zoo. Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 2014. Web.

Conway, William G. "Buying Time for Wild Animals with Zoos." Zoo Biology . 30. 1 (2011): 1-8. Web.

Hamilton, Gregory Scott. "Zoos." Encyclopedia of Anthropology. SAGE Publications, Inc, 2007. Web.

Maple, Terry L; Perdue, Bonnie M. Zoo Animal Welfare. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. Ebook Library.

Minteer, BA, and JP Collins. "Ecological Ethics in Captivity: Balancing Values and Responsibilities in Zoo and Aquarium Research under Rapid Global Change." Ilar Journal. 54. 1 (2103): 41-51. Web.

"Reintroduction Programs." Association of Zoos and Aquariums. AZA, 2009. Web.

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