The Ups & Downs of Zoos
How do you feel about Zoos and animals in captivity?
Personally, I’m not a big fan of zoos. In theory, a zoo is a great place to see and learn about animals that one may not get the opportunity to see up close and in person. The definition of a zoo, according to the dictionary, is “an establishment that maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or garden, for study, conservation, or display to the public”. Why are zoos important? Zoos teach people about the importance of nature in our lives. They provide scientists with opportunities to study wild animals. Zoos are also important because thousands of species of wild animals are in danger of extinction. Saving these endangered species is one purpose of modern zoos. Zoos are also home to many injured or orphaned baby animals that wouldn’t otherwise survive without their mom. But, zoos also exist for our entertainment and this is one reason I’m not a fan. I can easily learn about and see these amazing creatures on TV by watching a nature documentary. Here these animals are photographed from a distance in their natural habitat.
There are some beautiful zoos in this North America. The Toronto Zoo in Toronto, Canada, is just one of them. The enclosures are extremely large and give the animals a feel of actually being at home in nature. Animals are able to run and feel the wind in their faces. Their gorilla enclosure is just amazing! There is so much space and so many ways for the gorillas to interact with nature. The giraffes have an abundance of land to run on and stretch their long legs. There is a giant enclosure for the polar bears with the look and feel of the Alaskan outdoors. This is one zoo that I enjoy visiting because I feel the animals are in a habitat closest to their natural home as possible.
The Buffalo Zoo, on the other hand, is about 15 minutes from where I live but I choose not to visit it very often. It is the third oldest zoo in The USA, founded in 1875. At the time, placing the zoo in the city of Buffalo probably seemed like a good idea. Since then, the city has grown as well as the zoo. However, I feel, and many people would agree, that the zoo is simply much too small for the number of animals it houses. The enclosures are small and many are outdated. The Buffalo Zoo has done some amazing renovations over the last few years, but I don’t feel that it is enough for the good of the animals. There was talk of moving the zoo outside of the city to the waterfront, but sadly this solution was voted down. Even with the beautiful new changes to the zoo, the animals are still overcrowded.
The improvements they have made are nice, but as I said, there’s just not enough room to do all that is needed. They added a lot of trees and rocks to give it an outdoorsy feel and it is actually very pretty. The polar bears, while they did get an improved enclosure, still live in a world of concrete. During the summer, with warm temperatures, they are far from their natural habitat. Can’t we get them a larger, temperature controlled enclosure with snow, ice and cold temps? How about a bigger pond for 2 full-size polar bears?
The gorilla enclosure is just way to small and looks like a concrete jungle. When is the last time you saw concrete in the jungle?! Can’t we get some trees and grass? Maybe some more ropes and things for them to climb on? Some fresh water- maybe a waterfall? The Cincinnati Zoo has a beautiful gorilla enclosure!
I always feel bad for the lions when I visit the zoo. They have one of the smallest enclosures for the size of the animal. It’s really not much more than you see in this photo, maybe about twice the size. What kind of life is that for these majestic animals? Lions need to run and chase things and be free!
Thankfully, but to the dismay of some people and joy to others, the Buffalo Zoo relinquished their elephants to the Louisianna Zoo. The enclosure here was just way too small- hopefully, now they will feel more at home and have the space and care that they need and deserve.
Hopefully, these photos and the information presented here will give you a new perspective on zoos and captive animals. The opinions stated are mine and do not reflect the Buffalo Zoo or any other zoo in any way.
Animals should be free to roam the earth and fly through the sky. As always, remember to keep those feeders filled and Happy Birding! ~Karen