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Bronx Zoo Captivity question, Snow leopards at Bronx Zoo

Discussion in 'United States' started by Reenie Mastrella, 25 Jan 2021.

  1. Reenie Mastrella

    Reenie Mastrella Member

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    On S1E7 of The Zoo (Bronx), a keeper says Leo (snow leopard) is one of several snow leopards there. So my question is, if there are multiple animals.and only one exhibit, how much time do the animals spend in cages? I guess this is also a general question about animals NOT in a preserve (like San Diego), does the fact that zoo animals are protected from predators and painful deaths justify extended times in cages? This is a thought that has upset me and had kept me from supporting zoos for many years. My opinion of zoos changed radically as I started to watch the zoo shows. (I am now a Bronx Zoo member.)
     
  2. Echobeast

    Echobeast Well-Known Member

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    For the specific question about Bronx's snow leopards, you may get a better answer by asking someone at the zoo either through social media, email, or asking a volunteer or keeper next time you visit. Most likely, each leopard probably gets time in the exhibit every day or close to it. More generally, it depends on the zoo, how many animals they have, how many spaces they have (not just exhibit spaces but holding spaces behind the scenes as well). If a zoo has the back holding spaces, they may be asked to hold more animals than can be exhibited to the public at any one time. In the case of snow leopards and other big cat species, this is important for the proper management of the species in accredited zoos. There are not enough exhibit spaces in the country to show every individual leopard necessary to maintain a healthy breeding population in zoos. Because of this, some zoos are asked to hold more animals than can be exhibited at any one time. Although Bronx only has one exhibit, their back holding areas are perfectly suited for the species and the fact that the animals get to rotate different spaces throughout the day means they are mentally and physically stimulated. Maybe even more so than an individual that only has one exhibit space. Many facilities (such as the San Diego Zoo) have multiple exhibit spaces for leopards (both Amur and Snow) which allows them to exhibit all the animals at one time in different spaces. But this doesn't mean that the leopards at the Bronx are any less well cared for.

    You also need to not look at the "cages" as some sort of punishment or bad thing for the animal that needs justifying. Each "cage" is a space for the animal and the Bronx Zoo and other accredited zoos do an amazing job of making sure the animals have the best care and life even if they have to spend a portion of it in what we humans would describe as a "cage."

    There is also no discernable difference between what you call a "preserve" (probably the San Diego Zoo Safari Park based on the context) and other zoos. They are managed in very similar manners because they are in essence the same things. One can call any animal facility a "safari park", a "sanctuary" or a "zoo" but they are all the same thing. This is why you need to look more into the facility and their missions before judging them based on name alone. There are some really crappy places that call themselves sanctuaries and there are also really good facilities that do the same. Unfortunately it is up to the consumer to make a conscious decision about what places we give our support. Both San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Bronx Zoo are accredited by the AZA so they are held to the same standards of animal care, space, and management.
     
  3. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    Bronx has three on-display exhibits for their Snow Leopards, and I would assume they have more off-exhibit as well.
     
  4. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member

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    Bronx has held up to 12 leopards at one time in the past. They don’t hold as many now but they have 3 on exhibit areas. All of the snow leopards have access to outdoor spaces behind the scenes, with attached dens. These spaces are pretty basic but not dissimilar to other zoos, and the animals do rotate on exhibit. The Bronx Zoo follows a similar system with species like Indian Rhino and Tiger.
     
  5. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member

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    All 3 exhibits are fairly large as well, with lots of grass, room to climb, etc.
     
  6. Reenie Mastrella

    Reenie Mastrella Member

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    Thank you all for the responses. I am not judging so much as reacting based on a need to believe animals aren't suffering physically or mentally by being in captivity. Certainly, the safety from predators and painful death is a good trade off!