What are your thoughts? Do you think wildlife parks are better than Zoos?
Try not to be the selfish one on this one, think it in terms of wildlife welfare and what’s best for them. This should be the case in all decisions made touching wildlife existence especially the tourism sector.
Our admirations towards wildlife have pushed us to explore them, travels miles to visit them, brought them closer to our homes, and sadly even petted them (either legally or illegally). We have done our best to justify these decisions.
To try best to dissect this topic, let’s look at it from different factors. Namely:
Lockdowns and being prisoners in our own homes made us understand and appreciate the freedom of movement from one place to another. Zoos don’t allow that to wildlife, they are doomed to the small spaces for our amusement.
I don’t think Zoos offer wildlife the needed space necessary for their comfortable living.
With the limited space, mobility is a challenge indeed. Just because we give the lions a bigger cage or cheetah a taller cage. This doesn’t guarantee their mobility needs.
Predators are known to chase their prey and herbivores for walking miles for food and water. Where they get to socialize with other wildlife, for the social ones. And the opportunity to hide, for the solitary ones.
The zoo doesn’t allow this.
Zoo somehow tames the wildness in them
Predators don’t have to hunt while in the zoos, they are given butchered meat for their food needs. While the herbivores get nappier grass that has been grown in the farms.
Are these safer options for this wildlife?
We are discouraged from feeding wildlife during our safaris, to avoid altering their diets which causes complications that include tummy hurts.
We may argue that we do our best to feed them in a way resembling how they would get food in the wild. But I don’t think we are accomplishing this.
Stress for the Wildlife
People can be stressing, now imagine wildlife that gets to unwilling interact with us daily.
All the happy noises we make from admiring them. Or trying to see if they would come closer for a closeup.
They don’t have a choice.
If it’s not the tourists, it’s the caretakers. When do they really have their own privacy and time to themselves?
Zoos also give birth to different conditions that may cause stress to wildlife.
This is the trickiest one.
Most of us continue to justify the importance of Zoos for this particular need.
We see Zoos as safe zones for good health, reviving species, controlling diseases, among others. This is true somehow, but we could offer the same services for them while in the wild.
What we also forget is that they were surviving just fine. There are a big number of wildlife that survives wounds, and other diseases naturally in the wild. The forest has herbs that end up offering medicinal value.
Veterinary services are important but should not be used as a reason to exploit wildlife.
I do think Wildlife parks and reserves are better than Zoos.
I love it when wildlife gets to enjoy their freedom in the world, and I get to exercise my spotting skills to sight them in the wild.