Are Zoos What We Think They Are?

Zoos are a nightmare for animals but for humans it's just another source of entertainment. What people see issad_tiger.jpg animals that look happy and healthy but when you take a closer look, what you see is that the animals are just sitting around in a corner, and the first thought that comes to mind is "Aw, look it's sleeping" not "It's not moving like it would in the wild, it must be sick." But once you actually put thought into it you realize that animals naturally do not sit around all day and night sleeping or staring off into space. Then, imagine if its bored in it's own exhibit what about when it's in its holding cell which is a steel cage that they are kept in most of the day! Another cause for this strange behavior is the food they are fed. If they are not fed the correct foods the animals will not have any energy, so they have no other option but to sit around and do nothing. But when they have had enough, gotten to bored and get frustrated they go off and attack a human at any sign of threat. The animals are shot dead and the people responsible get no punishment. So the question to ask is, are zoos what we think they are?

What are Holding Cells?

The holding cells are where an animal is placed whenever it is not in an exhibit, it is usually small, dirty, and harmful to the animal. But the beautiful exhibits that the animals are displayed in are not what they live in 24/7. They live in small, crowded holding cells that barley fit the poor animal (Barr). Then it is dirty with feces and soiled hay that must be cleaned up immediately, but is “shrugged” off for the next day (Barr). Lastly holding cells can harm an animal. For instance, animals often bang their heads against the bars, that can cause brain damage. They also tend to bite the bars, which can ruin their teeth (“It is no Secret That Most Zoos are in Bad State”). But it gets worse “[m] ore than 60% of the animals in zoos have marks on their heads because of continuously banging their heads against the bar” says Indian animal rights activist, Maneka Gandi” (“It is no secret That Most Zoos are in Bad State”). Animals also develop psychiatric problems, they will begin to pace back and forth, eat feces, and go insane (“It is no Secret That Most Zoos are in Bad State”). But in some primates they begin to think direct eye contact is a threat, which is similar to the effect on people in prison (“It is no Secret That Most Zoos are in Bad State”). Holding cells are an animal’s worst nightmare that they have to live in, eat in, and sleep in when they are not in their picture perfect exhibits.

Do Zoos Meet Their Animals Dietary Needs?

Zoos often malnourish their animals due to being fed the wrong foods, lacking needed vitamins/thin_tiger.jpg minerals or being starved to death. For example, in China eleven Siberian Tigers died due to malnutrition and being fed cheap cuts of chicken because the zoo did not have enough money to give them the correct meat (Watts). Tigers naturally eat pigs, buffalo, antelope, deer, and other big mammals; you don’t see chicken on that list, do you? (“Tigers”). Also “[m] any zoos have tried to raise and maintain carnivores exclusively on muscle and fat forgetting that the wild predators eat the whole animal. Meat alone however, has too low ratio of calcium to phosphorus” ( Robinson). There is another problem when zoos in colder climates have their animals behind glass which blocks sun that gives them vitamin D. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium so without it, animals can form a disease called Rickets which is when the vertebrae collapses and the animals are unable to move ( Robinson). Then there are zoos that starve their animals. For example, birds at the San Diego zoo died mysteriously due to starvation (Robinson). Also, a zoo starved the 11 Siberian tigers in China so they could sell their bones and fur (Watts). Zoos do not feed their animals properly, which puts them in danger and in the wrong hands.

What Happens During A Zoo Animal Attack?

What this argument fails to consider is zoos can alter the behavior in animals which cause them to gorilla.jpgattack and in the worst cases in tigers, gorillas, and lions. Tatiana, a four-year-old, 350-pound Siberian Tiger attacked three men, while one died and two survived. People said they saw the men teasing the tiger even though the two denied it (“Are Zoos Bad News?”). For our mistakes this beautiful animal was shot dead. It is said, “If the animals don’t die of boredom, they snap and revert back to their wild nature” (“Are Zoos Bad News?”). But in another zoo a 300-pound gorilla named Jabri escaped from his exhibit and attacked four people so he was shot and killed. People say they saw teenagers taunting him when he attacked (Baily). It is still a mystery how Jabri escaped when doors were locked and there are inclined walls with barbed wire across. But that shows we are not capable of containing animals no matter how hard you try (Baily). Then Sapna Malika, a four year old girl at Nandan Van Zoo got to close to the fence, when out of no where a lion had started eating her palm (“Lion Attacks on Humans”). Then at Sanjay Gandhi national park a forty-year-old security guard was killed by a lion and dragged into the bushes when closing gate of the lion cage (“Lion Attacks On Humans”). As you can see we are harming animals and human beings by keeping wild animals (that don’t know any better) just for our entertainment. All animals have their instincts to kill and that instinct can not be taken out of them no matter how hard we try; but we still keep them in captivity until their instinct is unleashed and they go for the kill. Yet we blame the animal not ourselves when we should of left the animal where it belonged and as they say don’t play with fire or else you’ll get burned. Zoos change so many things in animal’s lives that aren’t for the best, such as their behavior.

What side are you on?zoo_animals.jpg

Many people don't know the whole story when it comes to zoos, but it isn't their fault because zoos are tricking millions of people into thinking zoos are a great place for an animal to be. Now that you know the full story you will no longer be fooled into believing everything they tell you. But that also means you do not have the excuse of saying that you were fooled into it. So now it is your time to choose. Will you rather watch animals behind glass when the animals are suffering or preserve them by letting them go into the wild so we will have them in our world for years to come.