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Captive Or Cruel? Essay

2320 words - 10 pages

Giraffa camelopardalis, commonly know as the Giraffe. The tallest terrestrial animal on the planet, has a tongue as long as 20 inches. They are consistently one of the most visited attractions at many zoos, amusement parks and even on safaris in the wild. Their popularity is probably based on the fact that they are easy enough to manage and relatively friendly, gentle, and often quite interactive with zoo visitors. Their odd proportions and playful tongues might be a cause for inquiry and interest among animal lovers. But the circulating question is, how are animals in captivity, for instance, a giraffe, being affected by being put on display? And an even more important question, is it moral ...view middle of the document...

In the flesh, with relatively easy access to tamer versions of these animals, scientists also benefit from having certain animals in environments like zoos. This can allow a better study and understanding of endangered animals, and resources on how to create better programs and conservation for those in need.
On the brink of extinction since 1996, the West African Giraffe, in addition to other endangered animals could benefit from being held in captivity. Potential for breeding opportunities have shown some signs of elongating certain types of animals. Keeping animals like the South China Tiger, the Saola and Sumatran Elephant (all on the WWF critically endangered list) from extinction is a goal of many captivation entities with pseudo-sanctuaries. Many zoos make an effort to breed certain endangered animals in an attempt to help build the population and extend the species for future life. Some species have been greatly helped by this effort, including the white Bengal tiger and the Giant Panda. The white Bengal tiger, besides the rare find in the upland forests of India, have been bred in zoos in Europe; including countries such as Israel, Great Britain and Italy. With captive breeding comes hope they will eventually be reintroduced into the wild. Breeders aim to build up the population of the particular species in danger. In order for the species to survive in their natural environment, the animals must maintain genetic diversity along the process, as well as insurance that the population is self sustainable. Although the difference is very little, the life span of a giraffe has increased from 20-25 years in the wild, to 28-30 years in captivity. This, on top of the reduction of threats, allows greater chance for maturation to adulthood. With longer life expectations, the higher chances are for reproduction.
However, this lengthened life is not common among other animals. African Elephants live three times longer in the wild compared to captivity. Obviously there are disadvantages to captivating animals. Specifically, large animals are more difficult to create a sensible environment for because of the space ratio. It is fairly easy to obliterate the physical and mental health of any animal, considering the difficulty of creating a livable habitat for them. The biggest problem in zoos is space. Compared to the natural habitat of most animals, even a highly ranked zoo’s attempt is sad. Tigers and lions have about 18,000 times less space in zoos than they would have in their natural living environment. For example, giraffes often create a big expense on the indoor habitat creation, because of their substantial size. Keeping such a large animal into a tiny, yet relatively expensive habitat that is unproportional to their size can cause many problems. These problems, whether they be mental, physical or behavioral, can immensely affect the future generations. Even outdoor environments built in zoos struggle to come even remotely close to the...

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