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Should we close our zoos

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Asiaticlion2015, 20 Apr 2016.

  1. Asiaticlion2015

    Asiaticlion2015 Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday I watched a programme called Horizon: 2015-2016: 6. Should We Close Our Zoos? It did challenge how I feel about zoos as it did open my eyes. The show covered many points such as the behaviour and life expectancy in captivity but the one that stood out to me was what kind of species zoos should keep? Endangered species, ones that are easer to keep and thrive in a zoo environment and your Abc species the one which the public expect to see. There were also points such as the breeding and keeping of Orcas at sea world. I will leave a link to watch the programme on demand (I don't know if it will be avaidable outside of Britain) . But if you do think we should close our zoos please comment as I want another opinion.

    BBC iPlayer - Horizon - 2015-2016: 6. Should We Close Our Zoos?
     
  2. savethelephant

    savethelephant Well-Known Member

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  3. Asiaticlion2015

    Asiaticlion2015 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks but I'm actually just asking the question altogether do you think we should close zoos and try weigh out the pros and cons.
     
  4. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    Which part of the zoo are you closing - their ecological side - ergo reintroductions and captive breeding; or their entertainment aspects?


    If you shut zoos outright then that will be a massive hammer blow to any reintroduction scheme and international breeding programs of many species. Of course smaller enterprises could start up in their place, but they would probably have to rush around to find the money to buy the zoo to get the land and enclosures otherwise start-up costs would be prohibitive.


    If for entertainment you might have an easier time convincing people of hte worth; especially since it would mean potentially more of the resources the zoo has can go direct into conservation; as well as improvements to pens and no more need to provide daily entertainment for the public and reduced stress due to no public. Indeed conservation and animal keeping wise it would be a boon. It would also mean that zoos could focus outside of the "big 5" market theories and could specialise much more so in rarer or less commonly known species; whilst zoos in more cramped areas might refocus on smaller species.


    However entertainment provides several key benefits:
    1) Money - through direct visitors; through sponsorships; through promotion etc... That's a potentially key revenue stream that you're cutting zoos out of.

    2) Awareness - many people don't travel even today. Many will never see a tiger in their lives outside of a zoo. Without the zoo to introduce them to a tiger many might not put a penny into collections or schemes to help the tigers. Disassociation is a big problem and without a form of connection people will ignore things so it could potentially have a devastating impact on raising funds for wildlife in general.

    3) Awareness - education wise how do many people become zookeepers and workers in that industry? From zoo visits. They are inspired or at least presented with the idea that it can be a job for them; without the zoo as the public face you are left with wildlife reserves only which are often not as into the hands on animal side and often much more plant/ecosystem focused.
    And you can't leave it to schools to provide the inspiration either - at least not on the whole.



    Personally I can see a lot of problems with zoos being open to the public; but I think that in the end we need wildlife parks/centres/zoos as part of modern society. If we do away with them then we are only further isolating the population as a whole from the natural world.
     
  5. Asiaticlion2015

    Asiaticlion2015 Well-Known Member

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    Id like to put it out there that I do not think that we should close our zoos. But when I say close zoos I mean outright close our zoos altogether. Why well there are many reasons one of these being the breeding programs for example the giant panda program, correct me if I am wrong but so far only 3 have been reintroduced and one of these has died. But I do also know that some breeding programs work very successfully but others don't. Of course this is going to be a problem no matter what but surely these can be carried out by private companies.
     
  6. thecheetah805

    thecheetah805 Member

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    I don't think that zoos should close, but after watching this programme, I do think that there are areas that need to change.
    one of the things that annoyed me even before this programme is that zoos tend to focus on the larger, more charismatic animals and ignore the smaller reptiles amphibians and invertebrates that are in just as much trouble as the big animals.
    I think that there was a great idea in the programme that zoos should specialise more so we could have a felid zoo, a African hoofstock zoo, and Asian hoofstock zoo e.c.t e.c.t then you would still have a few of the big animals to draw people in, but lots of room left in between for the little animals.
     
  7. Asiaticlion2015

    Asiaticlion2015 Well-Known Member

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    This is a great point. I think if zoos continue to run they should change, it may be fun to see a elephant or polar bear but like you said what about the little guys. My home zoo Dudley Zoo is On a hill with very steep slopes but I think that they are now completely trying to work with this with species such as Gelda Baboons and now building an enclosure for macaques.
     
  8. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    I think a better move would be to adjust how a zoo gets its funding as well as animals in the media.

    Consider the first; if a zoo makes a large income off the public then they are going to keep wanting the visiting public. If you want them to downplay some less endangered animals and then invest in smaller or less "interesting" ones for additional conservation programs then there's got to be money in it for the zoo to make that change.
    Even the most dedicated (to conservation) zoo requires money to function; without it or with very marginal running costs and the zoo will eventually close (marginal can limp on for years - the key word being limp).


    The second is the public and media. The media drives public interest and awareness. Consider how many would hardly know one owl from the next but all knew a snowy after Harry Potter; or a clown fish after Finding Nemo. The media has immense power; if you can push that beast to focus on other species then the public interest will more easily follow.



    Then I would raise a third; one that many might not think of. Education.
    Media is what's popular; money its what drives things but education often spreads awareness. The education systems treat natural studies poorly; a refocusing toward more natural studies outside of the typical mammal and plant studies that are present could well increase awareness of other species. I think also the lack of general drive in teh education system for jobs outside of the common academia lines can mean that many areas are closed to students; or if not closed they are not presented as opportunities.
    You can see this in how it affects both natural studies but also even farming; schoolkids might lean that milk comes from a cow but any farmers child will know far more than is ever taught at basic school regarding cows and milk production and even that its a valid "job" or career pathway.
     
  9. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    I think the one point that really disturbed me was the fact that i think 5000 animals were put to sleep in european zoos due to lack of space surely if thats the case then we should have a re introduction programme back to the wild
     
  10. Asiaticlion2015

    Asiaticlion2015 Well-Known Member

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    To be honest I understand why they do put them to sleep. But surely they can just like you said why can't they be introduced to the wild or just not be allowed to breed. In my opinion these animals are born for slaughter.
     
  11. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Some of these will be males born to species where you males mated with a herd of female animals. If in this case you want/need to breed to produce females to continue the heard, but in breeding them you get 5 males that you didn't want but no other places wants them either as they want females to continue their herds, what do you do? Some people seem to be missing this fact, all very good saying don't breed them or birth control but its is not that simple!
     
  12. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    This is then where zoos fall down . Zoos are meant for conservation well thats what we are told therefore if succesfully breeding regardless whether top heavy in males and there is nowhere else to go they should be a re introduction programme. in my opinion it seems morally wrong just to cull animals and puts them no better than these herberts who pay a large amount of money to shoot them
     
  13. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully without sounding like one life is more worthy than another, 5000 lives extinguished across Europe does not sound like a lot to me. I visited a Zoo last week where thye had euthanised a number of smaller inhabitants because they were becoming unmanageble. Personally, I often wonder why so many 'least concern' species are kept and bred regardless of how cute and fun to watch they are.
     
  14. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    @taun: can't a lot of those animals be kept in bachelor groups? A herd of male giraffes (for example) still has education/exhibit value and there are surely other facilities in Europe or elsewhere that would willingly take them and act as a holding facility. I understand the reasons that zoos cull animals, but I really think that other options should be considered first. I think euthanasia should be the last resort for population control, not the first.

    @littleRedPanda: Species that aren't threatened can still have value in educating the public. Many of them are also well-known, charismatic animals that draw people to zoos in the first place. It's better to replace non-threatened species with threatened ones where possible, but I don't think keeping and breeding species of lower concern is counterintuitive to the goals of zoos.
     
  15. littleRedPanda

    littleRedPanda Well-Known Member

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    I agree that they have a place, but in this case, they had a rather large 'place' which looked out of proportion to the attention it attracted during my visits. It is in the process of being reduced and therefore better controlled.
     
  16. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    And if there is no reintroduction programme as there is not suitable habitat? Not sure where this notion set them free....everything will be comes from.

    No that second part you have really struck on an idea...zoos could let people shoot them for an expensive fee with the money going to conservation (just like they do now in game parks as a population management tool ;)
     
  17. taun

    taun Well-Known Member

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    Which they do, but there may not be the space or willing zoos to go into a batchelor group...so were back there....

    Look I was shocked to find this was common practice when I found out years ago and had all the same questions but now, not come to live with it but can see why it is done.
     
  18. overread

    overread Well-Known Member

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    Hunters likely wouldn't pay to shoot a confined zoo-raised animal. They'd at least want a "hunt" not just a killing - although some would if it were an impressive animal to kill. Which is the other factor - many hunters want a trophy so the animal has to be impressive; the weak sick malformed poor choice for a cull isn't the one the game trophy hunter [ergo most with the big money] wants to shoot - he wants the prize that is your best.



    As for culling; it makes full sense. Zoos are undersized and pressured for living space as it is; they simply don't have the room for keeping herds of animals that have no long term nor contributing viability like bachelor groups. A few might; but most won't so you will always have a surplus that has to be culled.

    We get the same in dog, cat, horse and other markets although on a much bigger scale than the zoos alone. 5000 zoo animals culled in a year is likely far fewer than the number of horses culled in a year over Europe.

    Simple put for species that are not hard to breed we can breed a captive surplus; we have to keep breeding those species in order to have a continual pool of fresh youthful individuals for rehoming; further breeding projects and to ensure that you don't end up with a sudden gap in generations which could suddenly result in a quickly ageing population that is suddenly strapped for suitable breeding combinations (remembering that some animals might only have a few years of breeding potential).


    It's a terrible thing to have to cull; however without more money for land; keepers; fencing food and more the zoos can't take on more. Furthermore without significant investment in the purchase and protection of wild-lands the idea of reintroduction also can't take up that surplus.
     
  19. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    Have you any idea how difficult re-habilitation is?
    And even when you succeed, what is the point of a re-introduced
    population when all of them are male.

    What you say is that because of their breeding program which results
    in a surplus of males, zoos are just as 'bad' as people who hunt
    for leisure. By saying this, you seem to think species conservation
    is less important than the lives of individual animals. Not even mentioning
    that hunting in Africa is what saved several species form extinction.

    _____________________________________________________

    A surplus of young animals is a natural thing: it makes sure
    enough make it to adulthood even when some or many die.
    Nature selects, only the 'fittest' make it. In a captive situation,
    we need to make that selection. Otherwise you will get an unhealthy
    population.
     
  20. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    i like zoos and i;m certainly not anti zoo but as ive stated morally i find it wrong that 5000 animals get put down every year from european zoos.we dont know for sure how this number is broken down. and i suppose its safe to say it might be just a few animals from each species. there are enough rescue centres round the world who re introduce their native species back to their natural habitat so where possible in zoo bred animals why not add them.we can only estimate the wild population so adding a few more even if its male heavy can not be a major problem. it diveresifies the existing populations gene pool if any of these newly introduced animals survive - no guarantees.perhaps re introduction is in the too hard file ? perhaps questions should be asked of our zoos they are not sacred cows if they keep animals for consevration then surely that means try and support and add to the wild population.if some species are easy to breed in captivity then do they really need to be in captivity. i also understand that zoos have to have certain species to be a commercial success.i just think that we should not be afraid to ask the question .