Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Zoos: Should they exist?

Katherine Ortegon M.


Many people disagree with the idea to maintain animals in jail because it is unnatural, but other argues that it could be the only chance to save some species. In my opinion there are advantages and disadvantages about zoos.

The first advantage is that zoos recover animals that have been harmed by people, they make diagnostics and make the treatment required to have a healthy animal again; in other words, they save animals’ lives. Second, zoos are the best place to recover species from the extinction process, because they can find a couple of them and begin a large process and do research to achieve successful reproduction in captivity. Indeed, recent studies said that this could be the only chance for future generations to know some kind of species, and also could be the fastest way to avoid the future species’ extinction. Finally, I have listened to programs oriented to children and young people education. To do it, they use education and uncommon animals like camels, monkeys and bears that people can touch without danger, and they go to schools teaching what is their natural habitat, the importance of these species in the environment and why we should take care of them; at the same time people can interact with them and learn to love them.

On the other hand, I disagree with some conditions in zoos. On of them is the loss of natural habitat, because although many zoos try to recreate a natural environment, they do not achieve the same conditions of temperature, light and development in wildlife; as a consequence animals change their behavior. For example, some tigers and lions forget how to hunt, because they receive food all the time without any effort; other animals change their herding customs, because all the time they live with different kinds of animals. Finally, it is well known that in many cases animals are harmed by zoos’ internal personnel in order to achieve specific activities to show to the zoo’s visitors, this is the reason that many people don’t believe in zoos.