In zoos, elephants are usually kept in pairs or even isolated. Their enclosures are incredibly small, compared to what they are used to in the wild. Elephants often show many signs of being stressed out or bored, like engaging in repetitive movements.
Animals like polar bears or felines are used to hunting; this habit is replaced by the zoo with regular feedings. Most animals kept in zoos would naturally roam for tens of miles a day.
Animals should be observed in their natural habitat, where they are living the life that they were meant to live. If we can't afford to visit them, we can learn about these amazing wild animals by watching wildlife videos, television programs or by reading about them on the internet or in books and magazines. It is simply not right to enjoy seeing these animals while they are living a horribly sad life.
Selling animals is a profitable way for zoos to dispose of them. Dealers will sell them to hunting ranches, pet shops, circuses, the exotic meat industry, and research facilities. Surplus animals are also found for sale on the internet.
A few months in jail isn’t enough. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Animal cruelty needs to be taken seriously, and the penalties for animal abuse need to be stronger. The link between violence against animals and violence against humans is well-established. Animal abusers are five times more likely to hurt other people. Strong animal cruelty laws keep all of us safer.
The argument in favor of culling extends beyond a notion that sex matters. According to Holst, the only zoos likely to exist in a few decades will be those working to insure that their captive-animal populations are genetically and demographically equipped to survive for many generations. This requires killing animals, he said. “If zoos hide, or don’t want to modernize, some will no doubt go under,” Holst added, without regret.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to end orca captivity in Florida and recently proposed the in conjunction with a coalition of animal protection, environmental, and marine conservation groups. The Florida Orca Protection Act would prohibit breeding captive orcas, making the orcas currently in captivity the last generation to be exploited. Additionally, the Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to fight on behalf of Lolita – a long suffering orca held alone in a cramped tank in the Miami Seaquarium. Read more about Lolita and our lawsuit alleging her cruel treatment violates the Endangered Species Act .
Moreover, most captive populations of endangered animals will never play a conservation role in what remains of the world’s natural habitats. Zoo officials often talk about the Arabian oryx, which was once extinct in the wild and now has a wild population of a thousand, thanks to reintroduction programs, using captive animals, that began in the nineteen-eighties. But such programs are rare: they are costly and require a viable natural habitat, and loss of habitat is the primary cause of species endangerment.
Male giraffes, once they are one or two years old, will fight with each other when they share space with females. Some zoos keep male-only groups, but the typical captive giraffe herd has several females and only one adult male. It’s the same for many other animals, including elephants. As a result, the over-all demand for males is lower than for females. And Marius was born at a time of giraffe plenitude in Europe. The captive-birth rate had been increasing; as Holst explained, this was in part because zoos had learned that giraffes breed better in groups than in marital pairs.
When I was fifteen I read The Life of Pi, and for the first time I began to battle with the ethical issues of zoos and aquariums. In the book, Pi Patel is the son of a zoo owner and the author mentions that animals in zoos are happier than those who must struggle to survive in their natural habitats. The book is fiction; still, this struck me as an interesting notion. By this time, I had been to my local zoo at least four or five times, and happy is not the word I would have used for the panting tiger languishing in the dirt under one of the three trees in the enclosure.
In captivity, giraffes can live for twenty-five years. Marius’s misfortune was to be male. Captive giraffes of both genders tend to be removed from their family groups before they reach sexual maturity, to avoid inbreeding; many are then transferred to another zoo. The three hundred and twenty-one members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) exchange animals among themselves for no fee; the receiving institution normally pays for shipping.
The global giraffe population has declined by nearly forty per cent in the past thirty years, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature recently declared the animal to be “vulnerable” to extinction. Hancocks said, “I don’t think it is at all likely that any captive-giraffe population could replenish the wild population.”