Why Zoos Are Necessary for the Cognitive Expansion of Humanity I. Introduction Since their inception in Ancient Egypt, (Rose, 2009) zoos have a place in our society, and always will. They are living museums of the saga of all natural life; bearing witness to a countless parade of evolutional history. The public has an unalienable right to experience these ecological wonders in a safe, welcoming environment. II. Argument A. Education of the Masses Zoos provide an invaluable service to the general public.
Aside from being a fabulous source of entertainment on a sunny, summer afternoon, zoological gardens are a wondrous place for discovery and learning, regardless of age. Not many children are fortunate enough to travel extensively in their early years, and without the benefit of zoos, it’s reasonable to assume that many children would never see a lion, or a hippo, or a kangaroo. For example: up until I was five years old, before I personally witnessed a giraffe at the San Diego Zoo, I assumed that something that tall and bizarre looking could not be real, and therefore must have been exaggerated in books and encyclopedias.
Not only do zoos instruct the citizens of the world that giraffes are, indeed, eccentrically huge, but they also provide a connection you cannot glean from a book or the Internet, as Jack Hanna, leading animal expert and Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, points out: After a fun experience at the zoo, people leave with a newfound knowledge and understanding. How are they going to learn these things if they don’t get to see the animals? Zoos and aquariums give people an appreciation for the animals. They need to see, listen to, and smell an elephant.
Viewing an animal on TV does not give a person the same kind of love and respect for the creature as seeing it in person does. People form connections with actual things they can see, hear, smell and touch. Zoos can also use these connections people form to educate the public about conservation efforts that are vital to the survival of many species. B. Exception to Extinction Zoos and aquariums are on the forefront of conservation efforts. Through research and public education, they are helping to stave off extinction for several flagging species.
For example, the Denver Zoo alone in currently involved with over ninety conversation projects that span the globe in places like South America, Mongolia, Tropical Asia, Africa and right here at home in North America. (“Denver Zoo: Conservation: Project List”. n. d. ) The Denver Zoo, in conjunction with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, (WAZA) also participates in the rehabilitation and treatment of sick and injured animals. Their efforts in the Amphibian Extinction Crisis has been paramount to saving hundreds of frog, toad, newt and salamander species; which have been in rapid decline since the 1980s. “Denver Zoo: Conservation: Amphibian Crisis”. n. d. ) There is also some concern, and illusion, that zoos simply snatch animals from their native environments for the sole purpose of placing them in captivity, when that is simply not the case. In fact, some zoos, like the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, primarily houses only injured animals that cannot be safely released back into wild. (http://www. alaskazoo. org) Zoos also provide safe, non-threatening homes to endangered species whose populations have dwindled due to over-hunting, deforestation, and environmental catastrophes.
C. Research Opportunities Abound Animals who reside in zoos and aquariums are “ambassadors for their cousins in the wild. ” (Hanna, 2004) And these gracious ambassadors can provide us so much insight on the animal kingdom. Research is typically limited to observations, as the Colchester Zoo in the United Kingdom details: “Animal-based studies can focus on behavior, welfare, nutrition, husbandry, environmental enrichment, ecology, reproduction and conservation.
All animal-based research undertaken in the Zoo is non-invasive and mostly conducted through observation of the animals in their captive environment. ” III. Conclusion In closing, the world needs zoos now more than ever, to help us preserve the future of all creatures on earth. By educating the public on conservation and helping them make connections with the animals, we can help prevent these magnificent creatures from succumbing extinction. References Mark Rose. (2010). World’s First Zoo, Hierakonpolis, Egypt.
Archaeology, 60 (1). Retrieved April 27, 2011, from http://www. archaeology. org/1001/topten/egypt. html Jack Hanna. (n. d. ). Zoos Provide Education and Conservation. Retrieved April 27, 2011 from: http://www. opposingviews. com/arguments/zoos-provide-education-and-conservation Author Unknown. (n. d. ). Denver Zoo: Conservation: Project List. Retrieved April 28, 2011 from: http://www. denverzoo. org/conservation/projectList. asp Author Unknown. (n. d. ). Denver Zoo: Conservation: Amphibian Crisis.
Retrieved April 28, 2011 from: http://www. denverzoo. org/conservation/amphibians. asp Randy Douthit. (Executive Producer). (2004, January 6). Larry King Live – featuring Jack Hanna [Television broadcast]. Atlanta, GA: Cable News Network (CNN). Retrieved April 27th, 2011 from http://transcripts. cnn. com/TRANSCRIPTS/0401/06/lkl. 00. html Author Unknown. (n. d. ) Latest research projects at Colchester Zoo. Retrieved April 29, 2011 from http://www. colchester-zoo. co. uk/index. cfm? fa=research. list
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