Did you know that June is National Zoo and Aquarium Month? Zoos and aquariums may have their issues, but at the end of the day, they serve more than a few crucial purposes. A local vet lists some of them below.
Protecting Endangered Species
The California Condor has got to be one of the most striking success stories here. These birds came dangerously close to extinction: by 1985, there were only nine left in the wild. A huge recovery effort was launched, with several zoos and animal protection agencies participating. They hand raised and bred young condors, which were then released into their natural habitats. Today, there are now more than 400 wild condors.
Zoos also play a big role in conservation efforts. There are now a whopping 1,300 species listed as endangered, with even more on the list as threatened. Zoo-goers can see these animals in the flesh. That can really accomplish a lot in terms of raising awareness and getting people onboard by promoting not only good animal welfare, but also conservation.
Zoos and aquariums often rehabilitate injured animals, and then release them into the wild. They mostly work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in this area.
One of the best things about zoos is how they help raise awareness, not only about the animals, but also about the range of issues wild animals are facing. Loss of pollution, invasive species, habitat, and climate change can all have a devastating impact on delicate ecosystems and the wildlife they support.
Last but certainly not least, zoos and aquariums offer a truly special and rare opportunity to see and interact with animals you would likely never encounter in the wild. This can be particularly beneficial for children. Taking your kids to the zoo is a great time to talk to them about our animal companions, and why it’s important to be kind to them.
Choosing A Zoo
As with any other industries, zoos vary widely when it comes to ethics and aims. There are some really wonderful ones out there, and they’re strongly committed to their residents. Unfortunately, there are also some that are more interested in profit than protection. Your best bet is to choose ones that have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
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