Sanctuaries the new kind of zoo

An article by Craig Brestrup, “Zoos Aren’t Sanctuaries,” talks about two other articles, “What’s in a name,” and “Zoo vs. Sanctuaries.”

Brestrup (2004) talks about how

The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA)

help make sure animals are

getting the best care.

The AZA helped elephants in one of the San Francisco Zoos, be re-located to a sanctuary. This is because the zoo could not provide better care for the elephants. However, the zoo did not want to let them go, because the elephants are a popular exhibit. The elephants were removed and split up between two sanctuaries, one in California and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.


Picture taken from me at the Wild Animal Sanctuary

In the next article Brestrup talks about is “What’s in a name?” This article explains the differences between zoos and sanctuaries. A sanctuary is not open to the public, however, if so it is open in a limited way. The animals are all rescued, and never bred, instead they are taken care of for the rest of their lives.


Picture taken from me at the Denver Zoo

In contrast, zoos come from choice. Meaning that their choice is based off of entertainment, education, conservation, and research. Some of the animals are taken out of their habitat and are bred.


Do zoos do more harm than good?

63% of people said that yes, and is still changing, zoos do more harm than good. They argue that the animals do not have enough space in their enclosures. Even though zoos enclosures are improving, David Hancocks argues that, (he is a zoos consultant and former zoo director) zoos still give the animals enough space. Thus causing the animals to stress, and another stressor is humans being loud, and little kids running around. The people majorly argue that the animals have no freedom by being trapped in cages. In that, the animals should be free. However, because the animals in the zoos, they lose their hunting skills and other survival skills. Since the animals cannot keep themselves alive they cannot be taken back into the wild. Others proclaim that the cages are unhealthy, unnatural, and feel like they are just prison bars. Some of the debaters had even discovered that the animals are harmed by the cages because they are cleaned with various chemicals. These chemicals can be toxins that harm the animals. These cages are also to small and the animals lack in exercise. People also see zoos as human entertainment and not made for helping the animals. The Global Animal points out that looking at the reintroduction programs only 16 out of the 145 animals were able to survive back in the wild. Some stories to support the argument that zoos do more harm than good is about an elephant named Maggie. In 2007 the Alaska Zoo gave in and let go of Maggie, because the public was raged that Maggie was in a small indoor enclosure for numerous days without any means of exercise like an elephant-sized treadmill. Maggie was inside because the zookeepers could not keep the optimal temperatures outside. That is because zoos cannot recreate an optimal temperature for an animal when there outside. Another thing that has happened was that at the National Zoo in Washington D.C., zebras starved to death and a red panda had died from rat posing.

On the contrary, people say zoos do not harm the animals. They say that with animals held in captivity they will live longer, because there are no natural predators. Zoos also provide caretakers and veterinarians to take care of all the animals’ health. Zoos have improved in the last 4,000, like instead of big bars to have other barriers between humans and the animals. These barriers would be moats or ditches. The animals’ habitat has also improved, along with zookeepers. The zookeepers now understand that animals need something to avoid boredom and mental deterioration. Along with being taken care of, the animals are given food for them and they do not have to work for it. However, some may say that this makes the animals fat. People would agree, animals are given shelter and it is made for them to be safe. These shelters may contain air conditioning and heating for the animal. Some would agree that zoos are not just for our entertainment but for our education. Kids at a young age need a place to go and see the animals outside of their books or the internet. By opening the zoos to the public, more people can see the animals and therefor may donate money to the animals. Lastly, the people would agree that zoos help preserve animals and their species. This would add numbers to endangered species or any specie. The babies would also be healthy because they have proper care to make sure the baby lives. There has been successful breeding programs like, the vultures in the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos. There were less than two dozen vultures (California condor) to 170. Some zoos also take in abandoned animals like some polar bears that were in a traveling circus and they were rescued and taken to Baltimore Zoo. There was also a snow leopard taken out of Pakistan in 2007 and went to the Bronx Zoo. Not only do they take in animals but the Bronx Zoo also gave 3 million towards conservation projects in central Africa. The Toledo Zoo and Nature Conservancy had gotten together and to help restore butterfly habitats in Ohio.

Zoo History

Zoos have been around for a long time, much longer than I could believe…

A collection of living animals usually for public display.

According that website,  “zoos” similar to the description above, have been around since

1500 B.C.!

Queen Hatshepsut was said to have had the first zoo in 1500 B.C., and 500 years later, Wen Wang had the second.

Zoos back then were not concerned with the animals’ welfare, but with the people’s entertainment.

Romans used their animals to

fight to the death in zoo’s which were as large as 1,500 acres.
Personally, I am surprised that this would be considered a zoo.
Does it make zoos okay, just because they have been around for such a long time? I believe not, because the animals were made to fight against each other. This was also common in Northern Africa, India, and China who had all had established zoos as well.

Based off of these zoos, they had started out as entertainment for people instead of what I believe to be more important

persevering and helping species.

The first zoo, Imperial Menagerie, was established in 1752, in Vienna Austria and it is still around today. Only it has been improved and up-to-date. Not too far from the zoo in Austria, Germany has the largest collection in Zoo Berlin (what used to be called The Berlin Zoological Gardens), it holds 15,000 animals and almost 1,700 species. By the 1980s more zoos were started that we see today. However, there was not much concern for the animal’s welfare. I believe that they were getting started and showing of their animals instead of thinking about them. Until the public’s opinions endured to change zoos, because they were more educated on the animals conditions. The Animal Welfare Act came into effect and so did the Endangered Species Act. This Act was to protect wildlife and their habitats.