The Modern Zoo | Teen Ink

The Modern Zoo MAG

By Patrick Kennedy-Nolle, Bedford, NY

I would like to begin by defining “zoo.” It is a park-like area in which live animals are kept in cages or large enclosures for public exhibit. Hold on, large enclosures? More like tiny cages. As zoo funds are cut, cages become smaller with less foliage.

To many people it is obvious that keeping an elephant in a small enclosure is unkind. Zoos assert claims of conservation, research, and education, and most visitors buy it. They believe that keeping polar bears locked up in “sanctuaries” with fake ice is better than to have them out in the wild. This is understandable, since the polar ice is melting. However, both problems are caused by humans: global warming contributes to the ice melting, and the need for constant entertainment creates zoos. A survey taken by the World Society for the Protection of Animals found that 80 percent of people believed animals were not receiving proper treatment.

Zoos claim to educate visitors. Yet we’ve all seen the one-sentence signs that describe monkeys. What can be learned from this? Certainly not enough to justify inhumane captivity.

These animals are simply meant to entertain. For example, look at the red pandas at the Bronx Zoo. Are they treated with respect? No: these pandas are a few feet from hundreds of cars zooming by on the expressway, with only a fence to separate them. Are these fit conditions for an almost-extinct animal?

Zoo animals endure inadequate living conditions with no space. Captive populations are not large enough to provide a good gene pool to preserve their species, and they have too much interaction with humans. Yet people will still come to see these rare animals that belong thousands of miles away. It just shows how desperate we’ve become for entertainment. This is the ultimate disrespect to a species.

The claim that most zoos make to justify the captivity of animals is increasing destruction of natural habitat. The rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of thousands of acres a day. Animals have been breeding and migrating for a long time. And they’ve done it well. The destruction of the environment is a valid reason for helping them. But a line must be drawn between help and destruction.

Many zoos have the problem of surplus animals due to excessive breeding. What do you think the zoos do with them? Mostly they destroy them. Normally animals leave their parents and venture into the wild when they come of age, but zoo captivity does not allow for this. Woburn Safari Park recently admitted that they kill surplus monkeys. Sometimes the animals are packed like trash and shipped off to other zoos. Or they are what zoos call “recycled” (fed to other species in the zoo). Other surplus animals are given to laboratories for experiments.

By 2010 the world will have almost seven billion people. Thus the need for more zoos arises. Where will these animals come from? Certainly many will be bred in captivity, yet the majority are caught in the wild. About 35 species of animals go extinct every day in the rainforest. Perhaps taking these animals to zoos is better than allowing them to die in the diminishing wild, but clearly the conditions in zoos must be improved.

Is the power and beauty of nature apparent in zoos? This is what they claim to give you for your money. A zoo cage typically consists of a few animals sitting in confinement with nothing but plastic trees and brick walls. Their eyes hold a lifetime of sadness and emptiness. Can you blame them? Every day people stare at them, tap on the glass, and make faces to scare them or get them to move. Signs prohibit photography, yet tourists still take pictures. They don’t understand or care how much the flash terrifies the animals. A recent study found that, on average, visitors spent less than three minutes looking at each exhibit – some even as little as nine seconds. It is true that we get to see animals we otherwise wouldn’t. Without zoos we’d have to see them on TV or read about them. But is a minute of pleasure enough to justify a life sentence of confinement in a tiny cage?

Animals are tortured by zoos. Many lions will walk around in circles all day. This kind of behavior is especially apparent in tall animals like elephants and giraffes, which might chew the plastic foliage or bang on the bars of their cages. Some monkeys turn to self-mutilation after they have expended all the amusement provided in their cages. Birds are not able to fly in their mesh enclosures. Some stop trying. After a few years, most can no longer fly.

The night quarters are the worst. We do not see the tiny cages behind the chimpanzee enclosure where they are locked up with hardly enough room to move. But most animals just hide and sleep, like a never-ending hibernation.

More zoos will be created in the next 25 years. In captivity the once-proud creatures of the wild exhibit only shame. Shame on the human race for doing this to these animals. Perhaps the future of these animals does rest in zoos, but we can make zoos more humane. By doing simple things such as donating $5 to a project designed to stop zoo cruelty or increase the cage size, you can make a difference.



Similar Articles

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

This article has 106 comments.


Dr_Shnerdz said...
on Feb. 19 at 8:09 pm
Dr_Shnerdz, Portland, Oregon
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Saw dead baby seagull at beach, cried and buried it, had funeral with some of my family and random people, still have the rock that carved the gravestone... R.I.P. Bird

Robert214 GOLD said...
on Jan. 30 at 7:20 pm
Robert214 GOLD, Guangzhou, Other
10 articles 0 photos 45 comments
Some zoos do take measures to protect the animals rather than torture them...

andydieh said...
on Jan. 12 at 2:30 pm
andydieh, Boise, Idaho
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
plus this guy died. 0-0

andydieh said...
on Jan. 12 at 2:29 pm
andydieh, Boise, Idaho
0 articles 0 photos 4 comments
daark.

lesniewskia said...
on Jan. 8 at 10:39 am
lesniewskia, New Yourk, Hawaii
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
sorry i accident re-posted your article sorry

lesniewskia said...
on Jan. 8 at 10:31 am
lesniewskia, New Yourk, Hawaii
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
My article is etter

lesniewskia said...
on Jan. 8 at 10:31 am
lesniewskia, New Yourk, Hawaii
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
I would like to begin by defining “zoo.” It is a park-like area in which live animals are kept in cages or large enclosures for public exhibit. Hold on, large enclosures? More like tiny cages. As zoo funds are cut, cages become smaller with less foliage.

To many people it is obvious that keeping an elephant in a small enclosure is unkind. Zoos assert claims of conservation, research, and education, and most visitors buy it. They believe that keeping polar bears locked up in “sanctuaries” with fake ice is better than to have them out in the wild. This is understandable, since the polar ice is melting. However, both problems are caused by humans: global warming contributes to the ice melting, and the need for constant entertainment creates zoos. A survey taken by the World Society for the Protection of Animals found that 80 percent of people believed animals were not receiving proper treatment.

Zoos claim to educate visitors. Yet we’ve all seen the one-sentence signs that describe monkeys. What can be learned from this? Certainly not enough to justify inhumane captivity.

These animals are simply meant to entertain. For example, look at the red pandas at the Bronx Zoo. Are they treated with respect? No: these pandas are a few feet from hundreds of cars zooming by on the expressway, with only a fence to separate them. Are these fit conditions for an almost-extinct animal?

Zoo animals endure inadequate living conditions with no space. Captive populations are not large enough to provide a good gene pool to preserve their species, and they have too much interaction with humans. Yet people will still come to see these rare animals that belong thousands of miles away. It just shows how desperate we’ve become for entertainment. This is the ultimate disrespect to a species.

The claim that most zoos make to justify the captivity of animals is increasing destruction of natural habitat. The rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of thousands of acres a day. Animals have been breeding and migrating for a long time. And they’ve done it well. The destruction of the environment is a valid reason for helping them. But a line must be drawn between help and destruction.

Many zoos have the problem of surplus animals due to excessive breeding. What do you think the zoos do with them? Mostly they destroy them. Normally animals leave their parents and venture into the wild when they come of age, but zoo captivity does not allow for this. Woburn Safari Park recently admitted that they kill surplus monkeys. Sometimes the animals are packed like trash and shipped off to other zoos. Or they are what zoos call “recycled” (fed to other species in the zoo). Other surplus animals are given to laboratories for experiments.

By 2010 the world will have almost seven billion people. Thus the need for more zoos arises. Where will these animals come from? Certainly many will be bred in captivity, yet the majority are caught in the wild. About 35 species of animals go extinct every day in the rainforest. Perhaps taking these animals to zoos is better than allowing them to die in the diminishing wild, but clearly the conditions in zoos must be improved.

Is the power and beauty of nature apparent in zoos? This is what they claim to give you for your money. A zoo cage typically consists of a few animals sitting in confinement with nothing but plastic trees and brick walls. Their eyes hold a lifetime of sadness and emptiness. Can you blame them? Every day people stare at them, tap on the glass, and make faces to scare them or get them to move. Signs prohibit photography, yet tourists still take pictures. They don’t understand or care how much the flash terrifies the animals. A recent study found that, on average, visitors spent less than three minutes looking at each exhibit – some even as little as nine seconds. It is true that we get to see animals we otherwise wouldn’t. Without zoos we’d have to see them on TV or read about them. But is a minute of pleasure enough to justify a life sentence of confinement in a tiny cage?

Animals are tortured by zoos. Many lions will walk around in circles all day. This kind of behavior is especially apparent in tall animals like elephants and giraffes, which might chew the plastic foliage or bang on the bars of their cages. Some monkeys turn to self-mutilation after they have expended all the amusement provided in their cages. Birds are not able to fly in their mesh enclosures. Some stop trying. After a few years, most can no longer fly.

The night quarters are the worst. We do not see the tiny cages behind the chimpanzee enclosure where they are locked up with hardly enough room to move. But most animals just hide and sleep, like a never-ending hibernation.

More zoos will be created in the next 25 years. In captivity the once-proud creatures of the wild exhibit only shame. Shame on the human race for doing this to these animals. Perhaps the future of these animals does rest in zoos, but we can make zoos more humane. By doing simple things such as donating $5 to a project designed to stop zoo cruelty or increase the cage size, you can make a difference.



© Kaelee L., Petersburg, MI

on May. 7 2019 at 10:23 am
NOOOOOOoooOOOO, Huston, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
I AM A TIK TOK MEME

on May. 7 2019 at 10:22 am
NOOOOOOoooOOOO, Huston, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
@therealbella77 ok...

on May. 7 2019 at 10:22 am
NOOOOOOoooOOOO, Huston, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
so yummy

on Feb. 13 2019 at 2:52 pm
therealbella77, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
my name is bell

Sugaa said...
on Feb. 16 2018 at 12:20 pm
Sugaa,
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
MEOW MEOW MEOW

Sugaa said...
on Feb. 16 2018 at 12:18 pm
Sugaa,
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Great article

kittypug said...
on Feb. 1 2018 at 2:19 pm
kittypug, San Diego, California
0 articles 0 photos 21 comments
WOOF WOOF WOOF

kittypug said...
on Feb. 1 2018 at 2:18 pm
kittypug, San Diego, California
0 articles 0 photos 21 comments
long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long but good article.

kittypug said...
on Feb. 1 2018 at 2:17 pm
kittypug, San Diego, California
0 articles 0 photos 21 comments
ANIMALS YAY

Arti.M BRONZE said...
on Feb. 23 2017 at 4:38 pm
Arti.M BRONZE, Tirana, Other
4 articles 0 photos 46 comments
This is very well written keep it up!

on Jun. 4 2016 at 8:22 pm
ambivalent SILVER, West Bend, Wisconsin
7 articles 0 photos 180 comments

Favorite Quote:
everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. the worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. [sylvia plath]

love this article and the points it makes. keep writing

Sly banana said...
on Mar. 10 2016 at 9:50 am
Nice information! I don´t want zoos now.

Neonblue said...
on Nov. 6 2015 at 3:04 pm
Neonblue, High Point, North Carolina
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments
Soooooooo true!