Wild Animals Should Stay in the Wild

Devan Hanks, Shen Pen Contributor

Have you ever been stuck behind metal bars, or stared at through a thick sheet of glass? Have you ever been ripped from your home to be used as a way to make money and as a form of entertainment? That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? That’s how the world’s wildlife lives because of zoos and aquariums.

According to Oliver Jones at PetKeen, the US has more tigers in zoos and captivity than there are in the wild, worldwide. Even more horrifying,, of all animals held by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, at least 75% of them have been abused in some way. These are  only two reasons why keeping wild animals in captivity, unless to be rehabilitated and released, is wrong and should not be allowed.

Robin Mckie with The Guardian learned the truth on what goes on behind the scenes at these facilities. He interviewed Chris Draper of Born Free, who said that people can learn just as much about these animals from Discovery Channel, and he’s right. Why keep these animals behind bars and glass to learn about them in a non-natural habitat, when you can look them up online and watch shows that explain how they really act in the wild.

Robin also explains this in her writing. You can’t learn about how animals really act in the wild, when they’re not actually in the wild. The animals get depressed and anxious when in captivity. Their behavior deteriorates when they go from being able to run free, to being locked in a cage. They need to be kept in the wild, where professionals can study them afar and then you can learn from them. That way, people can still be educated on the animals, but everyone, including the animals, are kept safe.

There are people that disagree and believe that zoos and aquariums are a good thing and that they need to stay open. According to Mckie, people think that these facilities are providing protection for the animals, especially those whose species are decreasing in numbers. While yes, they can protect a few of the animals, they are mentally and physically hurting the wildlife by putting them on display. Hunting mammals like tigers and lions are not made to be kept behind glass, they are made to run and hunt.

People also say that these zoos and aquariums can help with repopulation. While yes, they can breed the animals to make more, Mckie writes that they are actually killing them and other animals faster. Studies show that animals who are bred/born in captivity have a very high chance of being inbred and catching diseases. When then released into the wild to fend for themselves, these illnesses spread around their habitat, killing more than before.

Rehabilitation and release centers are the only exception. They take in injured or sick animals, and help them get better. Then when they are 100% healthy, they release them back into the wild as soon as possible. They have the animals’ best interests at heart, no matter what.

Wild animals should stay in the wild; it is where they belong. It is hurting the earth and the animals when they are taken away from their homes to be used as a form of education and entertainment. They are put behind bars like prisoners to help people make money, and while  rehabilitation and release centers are needed and have a positive impact, traditional  zoos and aquariums are harming wildlife worldwide. They need to be stopped, and shut down, for the animals sake.