Humans should Evolve. We need to become Guardians and Protectors of all Earthlings and Environments. Zoo’s need to change and become sanctuaries and rehabilitations for the injured, maimed, abandoned or sick. If they can’t make it back into the wild then make their lives as good as possible allowing them to be the animal it was meant to be. This will teach next generations about Love and Empathy for all.
Before you start on the zoos, SAVE THE ANIMALS from the circuses and sideshows of America!! Ringling Brothers Circus is WORSE THAN SEA WORLD!!!!!
NO. Zoos serve important roles in both conservation and education. What Costa Rica is proposing to do is reckless at best, abusive at worst. To take captive-bred animals and release them in to the wild is sentencing them to death - often slow and painful deaths - as these animals lack the coping mechanisms of their truly wild counterparts. OR - and this is more likely - this is a 'feel good' campaign by the CR government, in which the animals will be "released" in to predetermined 'sanctuaries' where they will maintain feed posts, etc...i.e. STILL CAPTIVITY. In fact, for all of those screaming "RELEASE TO SANCTUARY!" you do realize that a sanctuary is still a captive environment, right? Those elephants in TN are still cared for directly by humans, fed by humans, and even brought in to barns at night - this is no more a 'natural' environment than any other zoo. It's just not open to the public.
Now to address some specific comments:
To Lisa J - who writes "Importing healthy animals born naturally in the wild and intentionally sold to zoos is shameful." WELL, it's a good thing that isn't really happening. The vast majority of zoo animals in zoos today are multi-generational captive bred, especially when it comes to mammals. They are not being ripped from the wild to be brought in to Western zoos. A captive bred animal does not pine for the wild - you cannot miss what you do not know, and most of them would not survive a season in 'the wild' if, in fact 'the wild' even still existed.
To Jennifer O'connor, who says "It is impossible to imagine being confined for our entire lives, as captive animals are." Yes, as humans, we have more choices for what we do with our lives than zoo animals do, however, the vast majority of humans choose to live a life of captivity - captivity to work, a home, debt, societal norms, etc. And many, many suffer in ways that zoo animals never will - zoo animals that have nutritious food provided, adequate medical care, environmental enrichment, etc. all provided for them at the hands of their caretakers. EVERY animal, humans included, lives in some sort of 'captivity.' Even wild animals are held captive by disease, famine, etc.
Ed, your statement "less than 10% of animals that are bred in captivity at zoos classify as "endangered" and for those that are, virtually none are introduced into the wild (a challenge that is rarely successful and not without inherent risks to the health of wild populations)." intrigues me. Where do you get this number of 10% from? The zoos I've worked for have been filled with endangered species, and one in particular participates or has participated in captive breeding FOR RELEASE of all of the following - ocelots, Andean and California condors, whooping cranes, Attwater's prairie chickens, endangered salamanders and a couple others I cannot recall off the top of my head. Another friend's zoo participates in numerous captive breeding and release programs for a variety of reptile species. However, you are correct about the challenge part - which is where CR is going wrong.
Mercedes, your statement "we can say with confidence that we have not learned anything positive from locking animals up for life, in zoos..." well, is simply your opinion. There have been scientific study after study based on biology, behavior, etc. of captive animals that have led to quite a few discoveries. Whether or not you deem these 'positive' is your choice.
Gina, like Mercedes, your statement that "NOTHING is learned" by viewing zoo animals pertains only to you and your opinion. I would beg to differ, based on the sheer number of guests, campers, etc. I've interacted with over the past 15 years in zoos that have returned to me years later as scientists, field researchers, and conservationists..and thanked their zoo experiences for putting them on this path.
I think zoos can be a positive living environment for animals who were injured, rescued and rehabilitated that are unable to survive on their own in their native living conditions.
Importing healthy animals born naturally in the wild and intentionally sold to zoos is shameful.
Breeding in captivity also bothers me. These offspring do not ever have the chance of living the life that they rightfully should have. The release of captive bred animals into the wild seems on the surface to be "the right thing to do," but after a life time in captivity, I fear there animals would be ill equipped to face the challenges of survival in the wild.
That is simply my opinion.
Sadly, yes, they need to close and return these animals to their own habitats, or at the least turn them out in larger areas! They need their space and their lives back!
Yes - I absolutely AGREE that America should CLOSE all ZOOs! For existing zoos, they should cease to operate as "zoos" and instead become animal SANCTUARIES where the animals are housed in large open habitats instead of cages. The animals should NEVER be asked to "perform" or "entertain" humans - ever!
The breeding of wild animals in captivity - for LIFE in captivity - should also CEASE! What is the point of breeding more animals for life in cages? Instead we need to put our time, attention, our education efforts and our MONEY into efforts to SAVE wild habitats! Not only for the animals, but for the very LIFE of planet EARTH.
It is impossible to imagine being confined for our entire lives, as captive animals are. The very essence of freedom is being able to come and go as we please, decide when and what to eat, hang out with people we like and avoid those we don’t, choose and court our mates and decide whether or not to have children. We punish criminals in our society by denying them these liberties. Yet animals in zoos, who have committed no crimes, are denied all of these important choices.
We assuage our guilt about keeping animals in captivity by convincing ourselves that the animals don’t “know any better.” But any living beings who are denied their freedom instinctively know that they are missing something. Natural instincts don’t somehow disappear just because an animal isn’t where he or she is supposed to be. Just like us, animals want and deserve to live their lives as nature intended.
Freedom is more than just the ability to move about. True freedom means being able to love and play, seek pleasure, pursue interests, fulfill one’s desires and live comfortably. Freedom is self-determination. All living beings, humans and animals, want those same things.
This is impossibly biased and shows no real investigation into the productivity of how zoos actually operate. I challenge anyone aiming to remove animals from captivity to find the untouched and pure wild thought to exist and provide those animals with a human free life.
We do have an obligation to protect and preserve wild populations of animals and there are many groups committed to doing this but zoos are not one of them. In fact, less than 10% of animals that are bred in captivity at zoos classify as "endangered" and for those that are, virtually none are introduced into the wild (a challenge that is rarely successful and not without inherent risks to the health of wild populations). The endangered animals that zoos exhibit are animals that people like to see (primates, rhinos, pandas, etc.). Zoos almost completely ignore endangered species of amphibians and small reptiles. Why? Because zoos don't spend thousands of dollars to breed and release, they breed to make cute babies that draw in paying customers. If zoos truly exist to help sustain wild endangered animal populations, they would be closed to the gawking public (an unnecessary stressor that does nothing to benefit the animal in captivity). I will also add that zoo birth rates exceed their death rates which means that "surplus" animals are sold by accredited zoos to deplorable roadside menageries, private collectors, and canned hunting races. We need to stop pretending that zoos and aquariums exist to benefit animals, they don't. These are for-profit entities (Seaworld for example is a publicly traded company for example...this is big business!) that exist to make money while amusing the masses.
Well by now after all those years of suffering of the innocent animals we can say with confidence that we have not learned anything positive from locking animals up for life, in zoos... Unfortunately more species are appearing on endangered lists and are going extinct everyday. So we did learn by now that zoos use/misuse the words EDUCATION and CONSERVATION to manipulate their paying customers. I blame zoos (and other such so called educational institutions) for desensitizing communities resulting in high crime rates. I see a direct link between animal abuse and domestic violence... and zoos, dolphinaria and circuses. Displaying animals in captivity confuses children and that creates a sense of normalizing dominance. Respect, empathy and compassion for people starts with respect, empathy and compassion for animals.
Humans have been convinced to believe that there is something to be learned by being able to view these wild animals up close but the truth is that NOTHING is learned.
It is not possible to learn anything about the natural live of these precious creatures outside anywhere of their natural environment and interacting with their herds/families and like or even their natural enemies.
We have no business invading on their lives and removing them from where they certainly want and need to be
Personally I believe that the only reason to do so would be to help orphaned babies that have lost their
mothers that have been killed by a natural accident or more likely by the greed and selfishness of humankind, and that would be in a temporary sanctuary. It is the self-centeredness and heartless greed of mankind that chooses to use them for the sake of putting cash in their pockets. They have no concern for the welfare and suffering of the animals' loss and grief , not to mention the physical harm and loss of dignity they must feel by having onlookers mocking them and many times throwing whatever is in their reach to throw at them; yes indeed, that's quite a learning experience!
These beautiful creatures are created just as we are. and should receive nothing short of living the fullest life that is possible IN THEIR OWN NATURAL HABITATS
Until humans can quit encroaching on the natural habitat of these animals in the wild, zoos are necessary. Ignorant polls like this don't ask the right questions. A better poll question would be to ask if human population growth should be negative. Then us naked apes could allow these caged animals to roam free, otherwise, if we close the zoos, what happens is we lose the genetic material of species that will become extinct in the wild.
This is an absolutely ridiculous question to ask until we humans become less destructive.
This despicable ignorance will destroy us all. Great zoos are something to be treasured.
Yes, close zoos and eliminate animals from circuses too. But why stop there? It seems hypocritical to care about caged animals when we slaughter and eat millions of them a year. Stop eating them too!
People are ignorant and terrible selfish. Humans have evolved into these lazy who need to be entertained 24/7 and at the expense of other creatures. The argument that zoos are good for education purposes is a lame excuse for keeping animals captive. Shame on humans yet again.
Yes, let's please close all zoos and shut down all circuses that use animals and shut down all sea life parks. Allow these God given creatures to live the way God intended, free and happy.....not confined for the amusement and entertainment of humans.
Don't forget the marine parks too, no animal should be confined for our amusement. Sanctuaries and facilities with exceptional enclosures for endangered species (such as Durrell in Jersey UK) that have breeding programmes and rehabilitation and release programmes would be acceptable. They can be the education centres that people think zoos are. Zoos just serve to make the owners money.
Not only zoos, but what about Sea World?
Costa Rica is so far ahead of us in this area. Zoos are depressing, demeaning and outdated.
Yes! An elephant sanctuary. Here in the west we have thousands of miles of land in our California, Arizona , Texas and the least populated state, New Mexico, that seems as if it's comparable to African land (I'm no geologist) Often as I pass through those deserts I think ' WHAT A WONDERFUL PLACE FOR AN ELEPHANT SANCTUARY'. No more zoos.
Yes, close the zoos, start by freeing the elephants, who, being the largest land mammals on earth, are confined to cramped quarters in zoos. They suffer from foot rot and arthritis because all they do all day long is pace on hard compacted surfaces. Elephants need to roam over miles of soft grasses, forage on trees and swim in rivers. Retire all the animals, start with the elephants by freeing them to sanctuaries. Children only learn about enslavement from zoos, they don't learn how animals actually behave in their natural habitats. Start regional wildlife refuges, move the animals there and allow visitors to see them from a safe distance.