Did you know that June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month? Zoos and aquariums may have their issues, but they do serve some crucial purposes. A local vet lists some of them below.
Zoos are also crucial for conservation efforts. There are now a whopping species listed as endangered, with more on the list as threatened. Zoo-goers can actually see these animals in the flesh. That can really do a lot in terms of raising awareness and getting people onboard with promoting not only good animal welfare, but also wildlife and ecosystem conservation. It’s also a pretty amazing experience!
Zoos and aquariums also often rehabilitate injured animals, and then release them into the wild. This may apply to anything from seals to eagles to red wolves. Zoos often work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in this area.
One of the best things about zoos is the way they help raise awareness, not only about the animals themselves, but also about the many issues wild animals are facing. Things like loss of habitat, pollution, invasive species, and climate change can all have devastating impacts on delicate ecosystems and the wildlife they support.
Protecting Endangered Species
This is one area where zoos are proving critical. One of the most striking success stories here is that of the California Condor. These birds came perilously close to extinction in the twentieth century: by 1985, there were only nine of them left in the wild. A massive recovery program was launched, with several zoos and animal protection agencies coordinating efforts. They bred and hand-raised young condors, which were then released into the wild. Today, there are now more than 400 wild condors. That’s amazing!
Last but certainly not least, zoos and aquariums offer a rare opportunity to see and interact with animals you would rarely, if ever, encounter in the wild. This can be particularly beneficial for children. Taking your young ones to the zoo is also a great time to talk to them about our animal companions, and how important it is to be kind to them. These also make for wonderful memories.
Choosing A Zoo
As with any other industries, zoos vary widely in terms of their ethics and aims. There are some truly wonderful ones out there, which are strongly committed to their residents. Unfortunately, there are also some that are more interested in profit than protection. Your best bet is to stick with ones that have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
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