I’ve always had a strong opinion against zoos and aquariums, which is why this article really put a smile on my face and nearly had me dancing around the room because finally, I see change happening. I had my first realization about how terrible zoos are the last time I visited one. It was about 7 years ago in Quebec City when I saw a polar bear, who was obviously ill and/or having a psychotic episode. Who could blame the poor guy? Living in a box that is a tiny fraction of his regular habitat, staring at four walls all day, no interactions with other animals… I would go nuts too. That was the day I was officially boycotting zoos for life.
The documentary “Blackfish” is also a great example of why aquariums are awful too. It demonstrates how Orcas living in places like SeaWorld and other aquariums acquire strange and violent behaviours when they’re kept in captivity for too long. They are naturally non-violent creatures, but once locked up for a long time, and exposed to unnatural conditions and intense training, they become violent toward humans and each other. Keeping them in such small spaces is simply not natural, and it’s absolutely disgusting how we are harming these innocent animals just so that we could look at them behind a wall or cage bars. It’s all for money obviously, and it is absolutely wrong to harm wildlife just for our enjoyment and financial benefit.
Referring back to the above article, the argument in favor of zoos is that they save species from extinction. Well I could see how that could be, but at the same time, the polar bears (for example) would probably have a better chance of survival if they’re happy in their own habitat, with no human predators than staying in a cage for their entire life and not being physically or mentally strong enough to reproduce. Conservation of wildlife, in my opinion, is best done through the creation of protected areas, natural parks and hunting bans, not locking them up in cages.
The other argument for zoos is that they are good for research purposes. How accurate can the results of these studies be if the animals aren’t allowed to roam freely and follow their natural patterns? If a study about orcas was conducted at SeaWorld, I would seriously question the validity of it. They are not behaving as they naturally would, it’s simply an inaccurate depiction.
I have a true appreciation for the line “We don’t want animals in captivity or enclosed in any way unless it is to rescue or save them.” Assurance of their well-being is certainly key to conservation, but in no other way can captivity be justified in my opinion.
The elimination of zoos is the movement of the future. I think all countries should follow in Costa Rica’s footsteps and ban all zoos and open up more natural parks and protected areas. This way, people can still enjoy the wildlife, observe it for what it truly is while the animals also enjoy they’re lives.