Is keeping animals in zoos a good thing?

By Sartre Ndebaneza,

The San Diego Zoo contains animals from around the world, including this giant panda named Bai Yun. (Photo: Matthew Field)

The San Diego Zoo contains animals from around the world, including this giant panda named Bai Yun. (Photo: Matthew Field)

We are all familiar with taking a short walk in a park, visiting zoos, and even taking some food to feed those poor animals. How about giving your loved ones a visit to a Sea World show? How about protecting animals and providing them with good healthcare and feeding them? There are a lot of significant reasons to consider in order to keep these animals behind bars. But what is the purpose if we do all these things for our own interest?

It has been said that we need to protect the environment, but we still hear some leaders say that climate change is hoax. Big corporations polluted the air but noone can point fingers at them. Government agencies and private organizations seem to care about nature but many people do not. So why do we really keep animals in captivity?

First, people started the open parks for wild animals. Then, so sea animals were not left behind, people took them from their world in order to keep them in pools. Is pool water better than ocean water? Were the jungles where those zoo animals used to live worse than those little shelters people enclosed them in?

If you are a true world-saver think about this: An African elephant covers about 80 kilometers (around 50 miles) a day. Is there any comparison that we can make with these elephants locked in zoos? It is better to take care of animals and love them but why do we deny them the right to live naturally?

For instance, at the San Diego Zoo, trainers trained animals, including dolphins, to do tricks. Trainers make animals do tricks by rewarding them with food. It sounds good but this is a technique to change animals’ psychology, and when animals act differently trainers call it rebelling or bad behavior. We know that when those animals lived in jungles or in oceans they ate when they were hungry, not when they did tricks. And they got food by hunting, not by being fed by people’s hands. What would you do if you found out someone was changing your lifestyle in a way you don’t like?

There may sometimes be good reasons to keep animals in captivity, such as helping endangered species to breed, but most of the time wild animals are better off in their natural environment, not locked up for our entertainment.

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