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West with Giraffes


A rousing novel inspired by the incredible true story of two giraffes who won ...
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How has the role of zoos changed over time? Are some zoos more acceptable than others? What is your position on them?

Created: 04/20/23

Replies: 11

Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

How has the role of zoos changed over time? Are some zoos more acceptable than others? What is your position on them?

The San Diego Zoo initially housed animals abandoned after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. It was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that recreate natural animal habitats and is currently world-renowned for its endangered species breeding programs and conservation efforts. How has the role of zoos changed over time? Are some zoos more acceptable than others? What is your position on them?


Posted Apr. 20, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 280

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

I am very conflicted about zoos, I prefer that they only house wounded animals and those that cannot survive in the wild. I do however recognize that zoos may be the only way to protect some species from extinction. I never feel entirely comfortable seeing animals in zoos, but at least if they have reasonable habitats (lots of space, places to get away from gawking visitors etc) I do love seeing them in person. I do not support shipping animals all around the world, the travel is not good for them, they should only have to travel the minimal amount possible. If that means no lions or elephants in North American zoos, so be it. The better zoos now study and breed species to maintain healthy blood lines.


Posted Apr. 21, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

This is a tough question for me too. My son was obsessed with animals as a child. Zoos were one of his very favorite places to visit- -the San Diego Zoo was a trip we talked about making often after learning about it in a book we read (nearly every single night for six months). We were fortunate, I believe, in that we were able to visit many exceptional zoos: The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, The Louisville Zoo, The Indianapolis Zoo, The Toledo Zoo, The Cincinnati Zoo, and The National Zoo. We finally made it to The San Diego Zoo six years ago. (I saved a fortune in souvenirs taking my son as an adult! haha) These zoos all have a lot in common. There is very ample space for the animals, most of the exhibits are open air, and there is a larger than normal border between the animals and the people. I also noted that the zookeepers gave the animals in these zoos breaks from being on display.

If the mission statements of these zoos listed are to be believed, their intent is to preserve life, offer protection, educate, and support breeding programs so we do not lose valuable species. And I support this.

However, zoos like the one in the book (in Little Rock) that are crowded among other problems- -and seem to be more for the enjoyment of people than improving the lives of the animals, bother me. For the most part, I see zoos as one potentially responsible solution to all the irresponsible actions humans have taken against animals and their habitats.


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 259

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

I think the role of a zoo has changed from entertainment for humans to keeping animals safe and from going extinct. Not all zoos are equipped to provide a natural habitat for animals, and I don 't approve of those at all. I think zoos have a place to educate us about wild animals, but not sensationalize them.


Posted Apr. 23, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 424

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

Obviously not all zoos are the same - some are good, others not so much. I think we need stricter monitoring of zoos and all institutions that house or deal with animals. Animals depend on the good people - they cannot verbally complain when mistreated. And I do not believe that all people plan for the best when it comes to animals - the animlas are just the product of their own investments. I am on the fence about zoos. Good ones are great, but sadly even today they are not all good.


Posted Apr. 25, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 564

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

Oh my goodness, YES - some zoos are definitely better than others. I have been appalled at many zoos within the USA. Some people do not think zoos should exist at all, and while I definitely understand that emotion, I do know that zoo visitations as a young child helped to develop my love for animals. Many many children and their families do not have the income that will allow them to travel and see animals in the wild. Another change in zoos is that they have become active in supporting the saving of species in their natural environment. Some zoos are helping to repopulate endangered species- returning animals born in their zoos to their natural habitat. Within the United States cruel and torturous treatment of animals is primarily within "scientific" labs; dogs, primates, and cats are tortured daily in addition to the more-publicized rabbit experiments.


Posted Apr. 27, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Joyce

Join Date: 10/14/21

Posts: 121

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

I love zoos! Yet I agree with many of the conflicts mentioned above, especially about the zoos that don't really have the resources to care for the animals as they should, and not merely for entertainment. I grew up in Washington DC and had the privilege of going to a really nice zoo as a child which has gotten even better. In fact my granddaughters attended zoo camp there two summers in a row. It was very educational since they were able to learn about the animals and how they needed to be protected. About 8 years ago I went to the San Diego zoo and did a behinds the scenes tour. It was great to see how well the animals are cared for. I actually felt like if I was starting a career, it would be to work at the San Diego zoo! Reading this wonderful book brought back all the great memories I have of the San Diego zoo as well as learn about its history. A few years later I visited a conservation camp for chetahs, hippos, and a few other animals in South Africa. They took care of animals that may have been mistreated in the wild by humans or left as orphans. It was very humbling to experience the dedication of people who are desperately trying to protect endangered species. The current news about the Giant Pandas comes across as political. The National Zoo definitely took good care of the pandas that we had.


Posted Apr. 28, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
triciat50

Join Date: 02/26/22

Posts: 54

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

I believe that zoos have changed for the better because they are actively engaged in the conservation and preservation of endangered species. I live in DC, and the National Zoo has been very helpful in the worldwide breeding program of giant pandas. But like several other posters, I am conflicted. These are wild animals cooped up in enclosures for our entertainment, but also providing learning opportunities. I think zoos are much more aware of their role in society than previous generations.


Posted May. 04, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariont

Join Date: 08/12/11

Posts: 44

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

As with amusements parks, the big establish ones seems to be treating their animals well. I wonder about the small traveling ones or the ones on the side of the road you see when traveling.


Posted May. 04, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nelle

Join Date: 06/01/15

Posts: 11

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

I was fortunate to have visited the San Diego Zoo in the mid-80’s. It was an incredible experience to see all the animals roaming free on the savannah, as if in the wild. I realized this was the best situation for the animals to be protected and hopefully bred to avoid extinction. Of course not every zoo has the vast acreage to do this, but I think zoos have come a long way in trying to provide natural habitats. I’m a big supporter of zoos who rehabilitate animals and return them to the wild.


Posted May. 08, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
BuffaloGirl

Join Date: 01/13/18

Posts: 229

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

I think most zoos have evolved in a a positive way over the years. They educate the public not only about the animals in them, but also about how the actions of humans affect the entire ecosystem. Undoubtedly, I wish that we didn't have to have zoos; that the animals of our earth would be protected and allowed to live as they should. Yet I know that is not possible and for many species, zoos are the only mechanism to ensure that they do not become extinct.


Posted May. 17, 2023 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amyjo804

Join Date: 04/14/22

Posts: 10

RE: How has the role of zoos changed ...

Visiting the San Diego Zoo has been on my bucket list for years! Now that I'm semi-retired I may actually get to go. My nephew is a zookeeper in Texas and we've had multiple conversations about the role of zoos and how zoos have changed over the years. I believe that in order for many people to truly understand how magnificent nature and animals are, it is necessary for zoos to exist. We need to see animals in person to really appreciate what we have on this earth. That means zoos need to house and display "ambassador" animals for us to learn about. Zoos have moved away from being a source of entertainment (at a high cost to animals), to much more educational in nature.


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