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Puppet Shows Or Something More? Essay

1609 words - 6 pages

As a child, there is nothing quite as magical as the moment when a slimy squishy giraffe tongue proceeds to slop up a cracker from small hands. Or the enchanting moment when a penguin reacts to a movement from small arms. Thousands of smiles are manifested during a trip to the zoo. However, while these smiles may seem like an accurate representation of the zoo, some people may see something different; a view of animals alone and cold in an environment unknown and foreign. In the 1800’s when zoos first started to become popular, the main function was for entertainment. However, as time has passed, many zoos have realized that their function should be more about education and conservation. As many zoos have taken on this new motto of making a beneficial change for animals at zoos and in the wild, some have unfortunately not. The simple matter of a couple of bad zoos have created much discussion over whether or not zoos are constructive establishments. While controversy over zoos has continued ever since they first opened, new regulations and concepts could be the solution for zoos benefiting both animals and visitors.
During the early stages of zoo history, when zoos began to become popular, animals were treated with little respect and were forced into confined enclosures with restrained mobility and movement. Due to this knowledge and stories continually passed down, negative aspects of zoos have created an accumulation of people apposed to the idea of zoos. From bad zoos and recollections from the past, many zoo adversaries believe that zoos are still using animals solely as a puppet show and nothing more. Other zoo adversaries also dispute the welfare of animals and express their concerns of repetitive animal behavior caused by stress and boredom. Other oppositions to zoos also dispute that zoos have no real measurable positive effect in any aspect to education or conservation. Another argument against zoos is the lack of species interactions among the animals and of unfit man-made habitats. These concerns have made strong arguments about whether or not zoos are beneficial or have the potential to be beneficial.
Far different from in the past, zoos now days are striving towards utilizing themselves as a valuable educational tools that can be used to teach humility, respect, and coexistence. Through demonstrations set up in certain parts of exhibits, visitors become engaged and proceed to learn new information about the animal and its environment. The information gained by viewing a demonstration has been proven to stick with visitors for weeks and also keep them more engaged in the exhibit for several more minutes (Russo). Along with demonstrations, are multiple information packets and signs that give a deeper insight into the animals day to day lives. In many demonstrations and information signs, visitors learn about not only the animal, but also about the animal's habitat. Visiting a zoo and seeing a small lion cub pounce at its mother...

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