Advantages and disadvantages of living in zoos

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i can see some of you looking mystified, so i will be kind and clarify matters. if 'a' = 'animals' and 'z' = 'zoos' (or zoological gardens for the fussy folk amongst you), then it is surely easier to realise that 'e' must equal 'extinction'.

in other words, zoos are a necessary evil. if we as humans find ourselves wanting to see animals 'in the flesh', then surely we have two choices. either we go to them and visit/disturb the peace of their natural habitat, or we see them in the somewhat safer environment of a zoo. these animals very existence is thus both threatened and ensured by their enemy/friend 'man'.

when i use the words 'safer environment' my meaning is twofold. safer for us as wild animals often reside in remote territory and some may not take kindly to humans invading that territory just to satisfy their urge to observe. also, safer for the animals, as it's a cruel world out there and most animals have natural predators (other than yet including humans) that can greatly reduce the natural lifespan of a wild animal. no such risks exist in zoos.

there is a positive knock-on effect from zoos too. consider the amount of hard work that has gone into conserving wildlife in the last 10-20 years.

conservation costs money, big money. who provides the money? ordinary everyday people who have been to zoos and observed those same wild animals there. having seen for themselves how precious these animals are, having felt real emotion observing them, people can relate to the need to preserve the species and will give generously to ensure their future.

i wonder, had i never seen a tiger, would i find myself able to be truly concerned about the welfare of tigers as their natural habitat becomes eroded by man and by so-called 'progress'? i would love to say I would but know in my heart the truth is I think not.

Zoos may not be a totally ideal environment for animals, hey, humans, many...