The main reason to keep animals in zoos is to preserve the lives of endangered species. There are many endangered species who are trying to survive in the wild. The living conditions in the wild can be devastating for some animals. In a study conducted from 550 zoos worldwide of mammals living in the zoos compared to animals living in the wild, it was found that animals in the zoo held a better chance at living. According to the study done by Animal Conservation, “Results indicate that mammal and bird species in zoos are, on average, not only larger than their close relatives not held in zoos, but also possess larger spatial ranges, are less likely to be endemic and are distributed in lower-risk geographical regions. Importantly, they also tend to be less, rather than more, threatened with extinction” (Martin). Animals in the wild are also victims of poachers who hunt the animals for their skin or body parts. This is very common in Asia where elephants are hunted for their tusks, which are used to make religious objects. According to the National Geographic, at least 25,000 elephants die each year. The loss of habitat is the main threat for elephants in the world, but poaching may be the second leading cause of extinction. In January 2012, more than 300 elephants were killed in Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park. An army of men on horseback raided the park and ended the lives of the elephants with the goal of keeping their ivory tusks. Ivory is used to make many crafts that are sold for high prices in parts of Asia and Africa (National). These elephants should be placed in zoos so that they won’t have to suffer being brutally killed in the wild.
Elephants are not the only animals who are victims of poachers. Tigers in parts of Asia and Africa are also illegally hunted for their fur. It is estimated that 50% of the world’s tigers live in India. It was legal to hunt tigers in that country until 1970. Reserves are made to protect the tigers, but poachers still end up killing them. The tiger population continues to decline. People continue to live in their habitat range. Some citizens are victims of tiger attacks that occur in villages. (King James Bible)
Lions have also become victims of humans in Africa. When lions and humans collide, both end up suffering. A human being is attacked by the lion or vice versa. There are many reasons for the decline in numbers of lions. These reasons include, but are not limited to, “habitat loss, displacement of lion prey by livestock, disease, ritual killings of lions, spearing or poisoning of lions in retaliation for livestock losses and attacks on humans. (national geographic sugar)” 68 Placing lions in a zoo would rescue lions from being hunted as well as protect people from lion attacks.
The animals who are in the biggest danger of becoming extinct are the amphibians, according to the National Geographic (125th anniversary). Elizabeth Kolbert states, “Zoos may have to rethink their mission. Why devote resources to species that are doing just fine?” Many experts believe that zoos should focus on the animals that are