As requested in previous thread An argument against the place of zoos in modern society: Conservation More and more zoos are justifying their existence with their involvement in conservation work. Whilst this holds true for a few species ( orangutans, pygmy chameleons etc) in a few institutions it is largely at best a small token akin to a multinational company using recycled plastic bags and declaring themselves environmentally friendly. At its worse the zoo mantra of conservation is misleading. An example of this is breeding programs. Many zoos pride themselves on breeding critically endangered species and swap animals around institutes evolved in the program. Two successful breeding programs are continually cited are those of the black footed ferret to north America and the Arabian oryx, while these have been successful they are just two of hundreds of species on breeding programs. There are moves to reintroduce the lynx to the British isles, experts at lynx UK expect this to be succesful, though they are clearly biased. Despite being part of breeding programs Zsl does not list returning species to the wild on its list of mission goals as seen on page 14 here ZSL Conservation Review 2013 WWF reported that numbers of wild tigers in India had increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014, of the 815 increase 0 were from zoo breeding programs. One of the main barriers to animals on breeding programs being released to the wild is that those who are born in captivity don't have the skills to survive in the wild this begs the question what is the point? Whilst not a breeding centre much can be learnt from Sepilok centre in Borneo that takes baby orangutans who have been orphaned or brought to the centre for various reasons and rehabilitates them in the parks 'jungle school' which teaches the orangutans all the skills to survive in the jungle that they would learn from their mothers. Once they have been living and thriving in the semi wild section they are then released in to a protected nature reserve patrolled by rangers to prevent poaching. This is obviously fine for young primates but would prove much more difficult iff not impossible with tigers or other large carnivores due to the danger involved. If this hurdle could be overcome there are more barriers. To protect wild populations species that are to be returned to the wild have to undergo genetic testing to see what genus they are to highlight which locality they are. They then have DNA profiles to check for signs of inbreeding, due to the relatively small gene pool on the books of breeding programs many animals on the breeding programs are related in some way and therefore can not be released to protect wild populations Zoo's use the argument that building captive populations guarantee the future of the species, but is this a red herring much like the multinational using recycled bags but having a massive carbon footprint? Large captive populations can create a false sense of security and does not solve or even address the problems that have lead to the species to be endangered in the first place. If zoos are serious about conservation they need to take a multilayer approach engaging those who visit their exhibits to the issues for example Palm olive farms destroying orangutans habitat and what they can do i.e. buy Palm oil free products. Zoo's also need to work with the populations living in the habitat of the endangered animals in a meaningful way. It is unproductive to tell farmers that rely on Palm oil to feed their families they must stop without offering an alternative. The two of the largest, in reputation and popularity not size, zoos made significant profits zsl (7 million) and Chester (2.5 million) profits which could be used to provide either sustainable farms for the Palm oil farmers that don't impact on orangutans or create other forms of employment. Other zoos may have greater or lesser profits but aren't registered charities so financial records aren't available. Therefore conservation efforts are lacking at best and at worse a Micky mouse attempt to justify holding animals captive for profit and entertainment. Next ethics, morality and research.