Zoos should exist, but they need to change!

Author: Rebekka Wenzel 8b

Healthy animals are being killed, other animals must live in habitats that are not their own, eating food, which is bad for them. Who would do such a thing to animals? Who would not care about the welfare of these beautiful creations? Many zoos across the world use animals only to make money and do not necessarily have the animal's well-being at heart. I am sure many of you will agree with me that animal cruelty is not acceptable and that animals deserve to live free. On the other hand, some of you will say that most zoos do care about animals. Today I will tell you the sad truth.

Several zoos keep their animals in very small enclosures where they can only pace the fences, because they have no better way of spending their time. They also do not give the animals shelters where they can hide, when the number of viewers overwhelm them. The animals suffer and become mentally ill hurting themselves in distress. An Example for such a Zoo is the Waccatee Zoo in South Carolina where animals pace their cramped enclosures suffering, while the authorities do not take action and the zoo owners do not accept the help offered to the animals.

Animals depend on their habitats, it is important that they get the right food and that they can act as naturally as possible, but sadly not al zoos owners provide what the animals need. They feed them what is cheapest and easiest to get, not what they need and instead of replicating their enclosures they put fencing around cement-slabs and leave the animals to suffer. Lily the bear lived 10 years in Deer Haven Mini Zoo and was very obese, she lived on a small concrete-slab with only a tier on a rope to entertain her. In the wild bears, like her, enjoy exploring, but her enclosure stopped her from living a normal bear life. Thankfully Lily the bear was rescued and brought to a wild animal sanctuary in Colorado.

Like humans some animals are family animals and are heart broken when separated. But numerous zoos sell their animals offspring to other zoos. The animals suffer, because it is not natural for mothers to be separated from their young. Not just that, some zoos isolate naturally gregarious animals, causing them distress and loneliness. In San Antonio Zoo the 54-year-old Lucky is probably the unluckiest elephant; it does not have a friend and due to its age, the zoo owners do not want it to be taken to a sanctuary.

Some people will protest that zoos help to preserve endangered animal species by breading them and then releasing them into the wild, but barely any zoos try to release them into the wild. The more baby animals, visitors can come to view, the more visitors will come and when the animals are older, they can be sold. Sadly, the offspring, that they cannot sell, afford or, in the case of a giraffe named Marius, was genetically to common to keep are culled. He was not good for breading and that is why he had to go, even though he was a healthy animal and most probably capable of release.

I believe that zoos should become more like sanctuaries for animals rather than money-making entertainment. Zoos should put more focus on release and put the animal's well-being first. We have to aim for freedom not for captivity! Many would say I am asking too much, but this change is necessary to prevent animal cruelty and to give animals the chance to have a good life. We must give our best to keep animals well and living, or otherwise more and more species will die out in the wild, slipping through our fingers. Imagine the next generation growing up in a world were animals only exist in zoos. Would that not be sad?



· One Green Planet

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