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Zoos what is the point and what do we want from them ?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by garyjp, 5 Oct 2015.

  1. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    An immotive subject i know but in all honesty what do we expect from our zoos really and what do we want from them ?

    As a visitor we expect to see a good selection of animals on display - correct?
    As conservationists do we want the animals to breed so ultimately they can be re introduced into the wild - i hope so. is that not the ultimate point of zoos?
     
  2. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    It is one aspect of zoos, but I wouldn't say it's the ultimate point. Though ideally, animals bred in zoos should at least theoretically be candidates for release into the wild if it becomes necessary or appropriate. You know, breed healthy animals, don't breed for novelty traits, stuff like that.
     
  3. wildzoo

    wildzoo Active Member

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    Ultimately I think zoos exist to give people entertainment; which I don't think is such a bad thing. We only live once and I think people who otherwise can no afford expensive overseas holidays should get the opportunity to see unusual and rare animals in captivity.

    Regarding conservation; so many endangered animals such as Elephants etc are already subject to culls and poaching/ indiscriminate killing by locals who don't know any better; so I am not really concerned about taking wild animals and housing them in captivity from that perspective. I think raising awareness about an animal by allowing people to see it up close in captivity does more for animal conservation than anything else.

    I think conservation needs to focus on saving habitat more so than individual animals.
     
  4. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    Agreed on the habitat thing. I see a lot of people (generally people who haven't done much research) who think that captive breeding alone can save any species. While it can help many (though not all) species, even the most successful captive breeding programs are pointless if the animal doesn't have any habitat to go back to.
     
  5. kateL

    kateL Member

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    I also agree with wildzoo here. Honestly, I know that zoos were probably originally intended for conservation of endangered animals, but in today's vast assortment of zoos available it doesn't seem that way anymore. I think a zoo is for entertainment and to make money. Personally I never enjoyed going to zoos, but my kids love them, so we pay the exorbitant rates that zoos now charge to go.
     
  6. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    I think that originally, zoos were intended for learning about animals and biology, or for flaunting your collection, and for public to be entertained.

    Today, zoos are about fostering a great appreciation for wild animals that we would never see otherwise, and also are about entertainment and learning (Zoos are struggling with the learning aspect since barely anyone reads signs).

    The best zoo staff cares about their animals like they do their own children, and always want every visitor to come away from a trip at the zoo with something new (like psychological-wise, not like giftshop-wise) that they didn't have when they walked through the turnstile. That is the main motivator, not money. Money is just a side affect, since zoos need this money to operate. That is why most are non-profits.
     
  7. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    The earliest recorded zoos were generally either for research purposes or for wealthy people to show off how rich they were. When we start seeing zoos that were open to the public, they were generally more for entertainment and education. Conservation as a function of zoos is a more recent thing. If anything, modern zoos are less money-driven than zoos in the past. Of course, entertainment is a big function of zoos and always will be, but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that. Looking at animals is pretty fun, whether in the zoo or in the wild.
     
  8. savethelephant

    savethelephant Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes. The zoo visitor's version of, "What is the meaning of life."
    However little my opinion counts, I would like to say some thoughts.

    1) Zoos have come a long way from the King's menagerie, as stated by other zoochatters and we should all take point in that.

    2) There is a big difference from some zoo in China than the San diego/Bronx/Omaha etc... That zoo in China exists soley fothe big M. Money. Ont he other hand, the vast majority of world class establishments exist for conservation, but of course the money as well.

    3) And of course, who could forget the thrill of seeing a full grown male lion right up and personal.

    Just some $0.02 ;)