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Do city zoos still have a place in a modern society?

Last week’s incident at London Zoo, in which a male silverback gorilla escaped his enclosure, serves as a reminder of how perilous it can be keeping wild animals in captivity.

The functions of the modern zoos are conservation, education, research and leisure – all underpinned by good animal welfare.

The arguments for and against zoos are not just restricted to safety – the ethics of zoo-keeping have long been debated, with the living conditions of wild animals being balanced against the human desire to both see such animals in the flesh and also to save some species from extinction.

For many of us, a day out to the zoo is a part of our childhood –  watching the penguins through glass walls or waiting for feeding time in the lion enclosure.

Chris Draper, associate director for animal welfare and care at the Born Free Foundation, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there is little educational benefit from keeping animals like gorillas in zoos, and that conservation benefits of keeping gorillas in captivity is “negligible at best”.

There are many styles of zoos, including safari and wildlife parks where animals roam more freely than in city zoos where there is less space to exist. However ‘good’ a zoo is, it cannot be denied that the animals within it are not in their natural environment.

So what are your views?  When did you last visit a zoo? Is it right to keep animals in smallish enclosures in city zoos? Are city zoos vital for saving endangered species? Where should we draw the line between what is wrong and right in mankind’s relationship with other living creatures?

 

Do city zoos still have a place in a modern society?

200 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Georgie Girl
21st Dec 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I always find a YES or NO answer too difficult as these things are not just black and white. There are good and bad points for both. I know one thing - putting animals behind bars is barbaric, open enclosures but not bars, oh if only they could talk poor things.
Pammi
30th Oct 2016
0
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I would only advocate Zoos for rehab back into the wild, and conservation.
Winward1
28th Oct 2016
0
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Wildlife parks that specialise in breeding are much better than city zoos, where animals are sad, lonely & going crazy, I hate zoos . . .
Barton babe
28th Oct 2016
0
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I hate to see animals locked up in cages, but I do think there is a place for Wildlife Parks. The rate wild animals are being killed off,
it maybe the only way for their survival.
Wilf
28th Oct 2016
1
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I agree I think the way forward is wildlife parks with lots of space for the animals and humans can watch at a distance
bookbat
28th Oct 2016
0
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I agree that wild animals should not be incarcerated in inappropriate cages.
However why are more and more people caging their dogs indoors??
Rosie123
19th Oct 2016
0
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A great many zoos are doing an enormous amount of conservation work. And many of the animals in zoos are born in captivity. We would all rather see animals in their natural habitat but for some their natural habitat is the country are in.
Rosie123
20th Oct 2016
1
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You are probably right Lionel.
Lionel
20th Oct 2016
3
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Rosie, I'm not so sure about that statement. Surely there's an inherited memory in all mammals, a need to do and be what comes naturally to their species? Maybe that inherited memory doesn't just disappear when they're born into captivity.

That is certainly the case with sheep dogs. I have Collies and their sheep dogging instinct is very strong. They'll try to herd grand children, my chickens or even us two sometimes.
Alisonrd
18th Oct 2016
3
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.....rather better to spend the money expended on animals in zoos to try to improve things in their natural habitats?
Westminster
17th Oct 2016
6
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Zoos are just animal prisons. Animals should be allowed to live in the wild as God intended, not used for entertainment by bored humans.
Wilf
17th Oct 2016
4
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I agree with this especially with mammals and birds
lonemoan
17th Oct 2016
2
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Animals in cages always seem so sad, can just about stomach them in wild life parks where they have a bit of freedom and rare species can be bred to return to the wild.
Lulu1959
17th Oct 2016
1
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Zoos are brilliant place for children to learn about the animal kingdom and an education in itself.
Wilf
27th Oct 2016
1
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Yes I agree but only if they have a lot of room to wonder round. A lot of them especially the big ones get very stressed-we would as well!
Alicia
17th Oct 2016
4
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Not great for the animals who live in confined spaces and suffer stress.
thefilthycripple
17th Oct 2016
3
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I love zoo's they are great places for kids to see animals up close and with what is going on in the third World the animals are safer .I have spent so many happy days at London,Edinburgh ,Bristol,Barcelona and Howlett's zoos do not let all the left wingers spoil all our fun
happystar
19th Oct 2016
2
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Your username hints at the sort of person you are; 'fun' at the cost of the incarcerated animals.
thefilthycripple
19th Oct 2016
1
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Many zoos do great work at breeding animals to be set free in their natural habitat .This is very true of London Zoo and Howlett's and Port Lymne the two zoos in Kent who have done work with primates . Why do so many people swallow left wing dogma ,that prevents them from leading happy lives ,can't they see they are being softened up for revolution ?
Wilf
19th Oct 2016
1
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But I did nt think that most animals in captivity could be set free from zoos as they are not capable fending for themselves
tammypettifer
19th Oct 2016
2
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I agree with you 100%! and for exactly the same reasons xx
Wilf
17th Oct 2016
6
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I agree they are great places but just think we need to make the animals much more comfortable with far more space to live in-elephants-apes-even fish etc. We should respect them and make sure they have happy lives
Hateehc
17th Oct 2016
3
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There is no place in a civilised society for zoo's. In this day and age where we can travel all over the world and also view natural nature on the screen, what is the point of a Zoo? An animal should be kept protected in its natural environment. The only reason we have Zoo's is to make people profit.. There is a place for wild life parks where animals can be kept in the open and are allowed to roam free, but there is now no need forZoo's, it is cruel
jeanmark
17th Oct 2016
4
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How can we be described as a civilised society when we have knowingly decimated many of these creatures habitats?
Alicia
17th Oct 2016
4
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Zoos should all be closed, animals are kept in small cages which is not how they should be living. There are plenty of wildlife programmes on TV if people want to see how wild animals should live.
Hammers
16th Oct 2016
2
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They should do away with them
There old hat it cost an arm and a leg
To go in and see the animals I went
Just recently most of the animals
Looked drugged the gorillas in a glass cage surrounded by gawping kids n adults all banging on the glass all day long its pity full to watch that
There not learning nothing about
The animal just shouting and
Banging on the window for ten minutes
Then moving on then the next lot arrive
And do the same thing time to put
The animals back in the wild where
They belong let them take there chance with nature
Wilf
17th Oct 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
I just saw David Attenborough on Good Morning Britain and he was saying that Gorillas are very very intelligent and very private animals and live in forests in the Congo where they keep to themselves. He said it was very disturbing for them to have people looking at them and making noises etc. Maybe what the zoos should do is have sound mufflers and noises of the jungle plus mirrored glass so the gorillas can just see their enclosure and not all the "apes" outside gawping at them!
JohnHerb
16th Oct 2016
2
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I read about the poor gorilla last week. I think Zoos do have a place in cities as they help to educate the younger generation about animals and hopefully will let them grow up to be really protective of our wildlife. they will need to be as the population soars in Africa from the current 1.2 billion to 4 billion by the end of the century animals will be in real competition with people for living space. Zoos help with breed of rare animals. When I was a boy in the 60s we had some Chinese pandas that were famous and they bred them at London Zoo. I understand now that while not thriving at least pandas are off the critical danger list which is very good news. Keep zoos. Give animals more room and be kind to them!
Munsterlander
16th Oct 2016
7
Thanks for voting!
NO! Anyone who has been to see animals like elephants in zoos must realise it is really cruel. As an avid animal lover (as can be seen from my image) it is just simply wrong. Zoos belong in the same place as cigarettes, drink and drive, black and white TVs and Donald Trump= in the basket of history. they simply do not belong in a civilised society

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