Ultimately, we will only save endangered species if we save their habitats and combat the reasons why people kill them—not by breeding a few in captivity. Instead of supporting zoos, we should support groups such as the International Primate Protection League, the Born Free Foundation, and other organizations that work to preserve habitats, not habits. We should also help nonprofit sanctuaries, like The Elephant Sanctuary and the Performing Animal Welfare Society, that rescue and care for exotic animals but don't sell or breed them.
Despite their professed concern for animals, zoos can more accurately be described as “collections” of interesting animals than as actual havens or homes. Even under the best of circumstances at the best of zoos, captivity cannot begin to replicate wild animals’ habitats. Animals are often prevented from doing most of the things that are natural and important to them, like running, roaming, flying, climbing, foraging, choosing a partner, and