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Every child dreams of going to the zoo and seeing all the exotic animals for the first time
and experiencing the myriad of excitement that follows. A visit to the zoo is even the treasured
field trip that takes place during ones elementary years. Consequently, among all this
excitement few people stop to think how the animals feel about being caged, watched day in and
day out, and left to an unfulfilling life. Zoological parks have dated back before the Bible was
written but the first modern zoo was built in 1973 by French aristocrats. The zoo was first
created in an attempt to teach the public more about exotic animals and how to conserve them
and protect their habitats; also there are a variety of zoo types such as, petting zoos, game
reserves, safari parks, and urban zoos which all have different purposes. Many argue that the
purpose of zoos are to educate the public about different animal species while conserving
endangered species at the same time; however, over time it has turned more into a business
enterprise that makes its profits at the expense of the animals. In recent years animal rights
activist and animal lovers alike have come together to protest the idea of zoos on the grounds
that they are unethical and harmful to both the physical and mental health of the animals. In
addition, many of todays zoos lack the necessary funding that they need to care for all the
animal species that they house; in short, the flashier, better animals receive better funding due to
their popularity while the other animals live in inadequate habitats that go unnoticed by the
public. The habitats that many animals live in are meant to replicate their natural habitats;
however, protagonists claim that these cages cannot replicate the wilderness. For example, one
can see that the habitats of predatory animals, such as tigers and bears are much cleaner and
typically have their own areas that are main attractions unlike the less popular animals, such as
small birds, fish, and land mammals, who live in smaller areas off to the side of the zoo. To be
specific, predatory cats like lions can be found in open habitats with large areas to roam while
exotic birds have small and crowded cages with no privacy or way to get away from the strange
people, noises, and smells. In addition, the exhibits that house animals like the insect and snake
exhibits are smaller than an average shoebox and are seldom cleaned. Such people believe that
keeping animals encaged is both inhumane and unbeneficial due to the fact that many animals
are found to live shorter lives, become malnourished, and suffer from a variety of mental health
issues that follow being left alone for long periods of time. In contrast, many zookeepers feel that
the zoo is a necessary to saving the lives of endangered animals and educating the public about
different types of animals; however, many argue that keeping animals in captivity is not
beneficial to saving animal species nor does it bring any significant change to the publics
knowledge of these animals. Another controversial topic surrounding zoos is whether or not the
breeding of young animals, typically endangered, is an ethical practice due to the fact that if an
animal is born into captivity it cannot be later released into the wild therefore having no effect on
a species numbers. Zoological advocates view breeding of endangered or threatened species as a
necessary way to bring these animals back into our ecosystem. Recent studies have also
concluded that caging large and intelligent animals, such as elephants and marine mammals, can
have an effect on their mental health and result in illnesses like PTSD and anxiety. In conclusion,

Commented [1]: Very good job on stating the history

of zoos, but separate the types of zoos into a different
Commented [2]: Separate the summary into multiple
paragraphs that mention different points. Overall you
have very good information.

Commented [3]: Very good point but break this

sentence up and give statistics and examples of
animals that have been malnourished while in captivity.
Also give statistics and examples on how animal
breeding in captivity is bad as well as how captivity
affects the animlas mental health.

one can see that the zoo has little benefit to the public or the animals and has become a thing of
the past and must be abolished.

What types of behaviors do these animals have in the wild? For instance, their natural

Have you observed about the longevity of the animals? Are they prolonged or shortened?


How many of the animals were bred in captivity? If not how did, they come to you?

Can you give specific examples where an animals condition has gotten either better or
worse during their time at the zoo?

What is your opinion on the zoo controversy?

Explain whether or not you feel youre bettering the lives of the animals you work with?
Please give reasons/examples.

Search terms:
Zoos effects on animals
The zoo

Animal health
Animals in Captivity
Modern Zoos effects on Animals
The Zoo
Should animals be in Zoos?

Source material:
As a Major Zoo closes,10 reasons to Rethink
the Concept by Barbara J. King, 2016.
Carnivores in Captivity by Susan Milius,
2003. Article in Science News this Week
Zoos in the 21st Century: Catalyst or
Conservation by Alexandra Zimmerman,
2007. Cambridge University Press.
Why Animals have an interest in Freedom by
A. Schmidt, 2003.
Article The Ethics of Captivity by Lori
Gruen, 2014.
Zoo Animal Welfare by Terry L. Maple, 2014.
Wild Animals in Captivity, Rob Laidlaw,
The 'Zoo Story,' Both Beguiling and
Repellent by Thomas French,2010. NPR.com

French, T. (2010, July 12). The 'Zoo Story,' Both Beguiling And Repellent. Retrieved September
10, 2016, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128467788

Gruen, L. (n.d.). The Ethics of Captivity. Chapter 13


King, B. J. (2016, June 24). As A Major Zoo Closes, 10 Reasons To Rethink The Concept.
Retrieved September 10, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/06/24/483439080/as-amajor-zoo-closes-10-reasons-to-rethink-the-concept

Laidlaw, R. (2008). Wild animals in captivity. Markham, Ont: Fitzhenry &


Maple, T. L., & Perdue, B. M. (2013). Zoo animal welfare. http://uncc.worldcat.org/title/zooanimal-welfare/oclc/835115340&referer=brief_results

Susan Milius. (2003). Carnivores in Captivity. Science News, 164(14), 211-211. Retrieved from

Schmidt, A. (2015). Why Animals have an Interest in Freedom. Historical Social Research /
Historische Sozialforschung, 40(4 (154)), 92-109. Retrieved

Simons, L. (2003). Journal of Mammalogy, 84(3), 1127-1129. Retrieved from


Zimmermann, A. (2007). Zoos in the 21st century: Catalysts for conservation?. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

Topic Proposal:
Throughout this portfolio I will extensively research the controversy behind zoos and whether or
not they are good, bad, or just need to be changed. Arguments used against zoos are that they do
not do the job that they were intended, which was to educate and conserve animals, but instead
prove to be harmful and unbeneficial to the physical and mental health of the animals. In
contrast, others argue that zoos protect various endangered species and prolong the lives of the
animals, protect them from prey, and provide the public information on exotic animals.
Evidence, for both cases, can be found extensively throughout this portfolio through both
personal inference and factual evidence.

Lit review:
In recent years the zoo has received a lot of backlash from animal rights activist because many
claim that the concept of keeping animals captive is both wrong and unethical; however, many
zoos are beginning to shed their negative stereotypes and are attempting to make the welfare of
the animals better. The conflict of whether or not zoos should be abolished is a controversial
topic due to the fact that some believe that various animal species should be conserved because
of their diminishing numbers on the wild; while others feel it is wrong to keep an animal captive
against its will. Arguments about the nature of zoos include the paradox of zoos, the wellbeing of
certain species, their ability to return to the wild, and whether or not animals have the ability to
want freedom.
Zoos are a place that were established to house and conserve animals while educating the public;
however, examining the paradox of zoos that draw in visitors with the beauty and wildness of
animals we need to understand the wildness to make those animals accessible (French,2010).
There has been a fine line between protection and control of the animals within zoos and the
result is typically control. Consequently, the zoo keepers that take care of these animals want to
provide the best lives for them but often cant due to the human desire to protect and control
nature (Conan,2010). Animal caretakers are often caught between the paradox of zoos
(French, 2010) and the fundamental question of whether or not animals should be conserved at
the cost of their own captivity.
In recent studies conducted by, Ros Clubb of the University of Oxford in Engl, has conducted
studies of captive animals which have shown that they tend to display nervous tics such as
pacing and have high infant mortality rates; these issues directly correlate with the land that an
animal will cover in the wild and their annual migration patterns(Milius,2003). In addition, these
studies have also shown that certain species can adapt well to captivity, such as smaller
monkeys, who rarely migrate in the wild and can thrive in the zoo environment; however, other
larger animals that have large ranges, such as polar bears and lions, are more likely to develop
these tics. For instance, various books and articles argue that most zoos have proved wrong many
of the stereotypes and are attempting to make the lives better for the animals by creating

Commented [4]: Good proposal on stating your goal,

but mention how people can help the zoos become a
better place for the animals and bring the zoo back to
its original purpose.
Commented [5]: State what you personally think about
the zoos and how you think they should be changed.

Commented [6]: Condense your paragraphs into

precise points and less of a bibliography. Although all
the information is good, try to shorten it up and make it
more concise.

Commented [7]: Give examples of how zoo keepers

treat the animals and what they think about the well
being of the animals as well as the environment. Good
point on stating the controversy but give more details.

Commented [8]: Mention the zoos that he did

research on as well as other zoos in different counties
and how each zoo treats their animals differently. Also
mention the things that zoos do that are positive and
more zoos should do to improve the lives of the
animals. Good job on talking about how different
animals react but give more detail.

wellness-oriented facilities where animals are activated and stimulated by species-appropriate

environmental and social conditions (Maple T.L,2013. Pg. 64).
In addition, to the argument on whether or not animals should be free, zoo supporters claim that
keeping them in captivity is prolonging their lives because they arent exposed to predators like
they are in the wild. Unlike abolitionist who claim that animals experience unfulfilling lives by
excessive sleeping, pacing, and other abnormal behaviors. Zoo supporters argue that animals
lack the mental capacity to understand freedom and therefore have no interest in pursuing it;
however, even though animals cant understand the concept of freedom it is our moral right to let
them pursue a free life (Schmidt, 2015). For instance, an animal, like a monkey, that is kept in
captivity does not have to ability to understand why they are there or what will happen to them
thus the monkey is experiencing the raw terror of not knowing (Linzey,2009) while humans
have the ability to reason animals do not. Therefore, we, as humans, need to reconsider the
concept of zoos due to the stress it invokes on the captive animals. Various animals that are
common in captivity require stimulation in order to correctly adapt to life in the zoo; however,
because of space issues many animals, such as apes, elephants, and dolphins, cannot thrive in the
zoo environment. Moving forward we must challenge outdated and cruel zoo practices
(Laidlaw, 2008) due to our responsibility to treat all wild animals (Laidlaw, 2008) and the
environment with respect.
In order for zoos to continue surviving into the future, they must change their methods in
conservation and search for new ways that consider the animals wellbeing over entertainment.
Conserving an animal and keeping one captive are two very different concepts the argument is
not with these individuals but with zoos as institutions (King, 2016) as they tend to blur the
lines between control and conservation. In contrast, some zoos are changing their dynamics and
are beginning to shut down exhibits with large animals and bringing small changes to their
landscapes in order to bring patrons into the animals' environments otherwise known as
"Landscape immersion"(Simmons, 2003) which is portraying how zoos are starting to evolve
into modern ideals. Conservation efforts inside the zoo are proven to be risky and dangerous to
the animals due to the inability of certain species who cannot be reintroduced into the wild. Thus
it has come to light that one of the issues behind zoos lie between failed conservation efforts. In
addition, humans do not appreciate the environment and thus we are the reason behind the
unnecessary and massive loss of wildlife habitats around the world, which is unsustainable
(Hancock, 2003) and must be stopped in order to be able to bring conserved animals in zoos back
into the wild. For instance, the Borneo Orangutan has disappeared from forests all around the
globe due to the uncertified palm oil trade in the food industry which has resulted in this species
going into near extinction. Therefore, as a result of deforestation of the orangutans habitat they
cannot be released back into the wild thus making zoo's conservation efforts futile. On another
note, exhibits are becoming less educational than intended due to the fact that people rush from
one flashy exhibit to the next without learning anything that wasnt previously known. Solutions
about the issue of breeding animals simply to restock zoo exhibits (King,2016) will alleviate
the ethical and moral issues behind zoo conservation efforts and allow them to come to a place
where animals' lives come first, over and above human entertainment (King,2016).

Commented [9]: Talk about specific organizations and

what they think about zoos overall and how they plan
on fixing the problems within the zoos. Good job of
pointing out that animals don't know a difference
between being free and being held captive.

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