Senate The Hypocritical Zoo

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by SuperWatto, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Hoth you raise a good point, I'll try to dig up some more information on accreditation tonight.


    Harps, I think the Wiki list is incomplete. Multiple sources say there are around 2,400 zoos in the US.
  2. harpua Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2005
    star 8
    All the sources I've seen say there are 2400 zoos around the world, and 375 in the US. *
    http://www.zoos-worldwide.de/

    * Not that it really matters. :p

    I guess I'm of the camp that thinks bad zoos should not exist and good zoos are good.
    Last edited by harpuah, Jan 17, 2013
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  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    For me the hypocrisy of zoos is about the way they exaggerate their own critical importance to conservation efforts vs. the actual importance of those efforts relative to actual problems faced by animals in the wild: habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, overkill, etc. all of which are pressures caused by the growing human population and it's level of resource consumption.

    The guy who keeps a caged mountain lion on display behind his gas station is not being a hypocrite.
  4. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    He is if he says he loves animals. [face_whistling]

    Harps, I'm starting to realize that nobody knows how many zoos exist. The World Zoo Organization admits as much in their Conservation Strategy executive summary (bedside material for Jabba): "Although there are many more institutions that could come under the term “zoos”, the Strategy is directed primarily at the more than one thousand zoos that are organized in zoo associations". Still, this list has 1596 zoos worldwide. The list from Wikipedia you mentioned doesn't list aquaria, which I'd include.
    The Wiki zoo page has this: "the AZA estimates that there are approximately 2,400 animal exhibits operating under USDA license as of February 2007; fewer than 10% are accredited". It comes from an AZA page that has since been removed, just like the AZA director mentioned on page 1 of this thread. In conclusion, I'd say that it's the unlisted zoos we should be most worried about.

    Hoth - the accreditation process, then, is largely irrelevant.

    Also of note, from a 2003 National Geographic article:
    David Hancocks, a former zoo director with 30 years' experience, estimates that less than 3 percent of the budgets of these 212 accredited zoos go toward conservation efforts. At the same time, they point to the billions of dollars spent every year on hi-tech exhibits and marketing efforts to lure visitors. Many zoos not affiliated with the AZA spend nothing on conservation.

    Conservation efforts aren't always successful. Benjamin Beck, former associate director of biological programs at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., found that in the last century, only 16 of 145 reintroduction programs worldwide ever actually restored any animal populations to the wild. Of those, most were carried out by government agencies, not zoos.

    When it comes to education, Hancocks points to studies saying visitors leave zoos feeling uninspired and uneducated. Rather than walking out determined to help save wildlife, they go away disenchanted.

    At any rate, I think we can all agree that the bad zoos need to be closed, but nobody's doing it - so we're all hypocrites... myself included.
  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    That's a great document:


    Ultimately, still not completely compatible with the real zoo mission of displaying captive animals for the benefit of [in most cases] paying customers.

    If I were going to financially support an organization for its ability to engage in conservation efforts, I would support an organization that was exclusively engaged in those conservation efforts rather than being primarily engaged in a completely different effort.

    But not even that kind of organization has much shot at success. The kind of organization that would have the most impact on wildlife conservation, were it to be successful, would be something like this.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jan 17, 2013
  6. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I hesitate to post this, but... I think conservation is generally a lost cause.
    And I don't think locked-up, insane animals are a good substitute.

    The best conservation effort, I guess, is one that doesn't focus on animals but on bringing down world population and stabilizing third-world countries. Once that's under control, saving animals might have a longer-lasting effect.
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    yup

    You know, I really wanted to join that Burmese python hunt in the Everglades. I think that would have been a riot. Hacking pythons with machetes is my kind of conservation effort.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Jan 17, 2013
  8. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Universal education is the thing proven to cure poverty and curb population growth.

    Zoos are educational places.

    Just sayin'.

    :p
    Last edited by V-2, Jan 18, 2013
  9. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Not much.

    "Overall, visitors bring with them a higher-than-expected knowledge about basic ecological concepts. A small percentage group of visitors (approximately 10%) did show significant changes in their conservation-related knowledge. However because of the higher than expected entering knowledge of most visitors, there were no statistically significant changes in overall knowledge."
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  10. darth-calvin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2002
    star 1
    My family went to Disney over xmas and we toured a wildlife park at the animal kingdom. My first thought on seeing the larger animals (lions, elephants, giraffes, etc) was that they should be free. This is my natural instinct as I tend to be quite socially conscious, especially with animals. However, I do see a value in zoos as long as they are done very well (which I would agree that many are not).

    I want to clear up something about the accreditation thing in the US. While few are actually accredited, that does not mean they are not governed. All zoos have to be licensed by the USDA so it’s not like they can just do whatever they want. And, having been involved in the ownership of a pet store (which are also governed by USDA), it’s a lot more work to break rules and hide things than it’s worth.

    Coming from an education perspective, I disagree with the tenets of a study that only survey people before they come in and when they leave. The inspiration of such animals can cause people to take interest in the future. For example, someone who sees a bear at the zoo might have a pretty good understanding of them and not learn anymore from the visit. However, a month later they might notice that a documentary about bears is on some nature channel and decide to watch it – where they will likely learn more.

    Mostly I see zoos as an education for children and a means to instill a sense of responsibility for them. Field trips to zoos start as early as preschool. The education from that typically begins before the actual trip and continues after. Teachers prepare the children for the field trip before and then do follow-up after. Where I live, field trips are usually part of a week-long lesson plan surrounding a particular subject. Of course, my view is that the more you know about animals, the more you respect them.

    "Overall, visitors bring with them a higher-than-expected knowledge about basic ecological concepts. A small percentage group of visitors (approximately 10%) did show significant changes in their conservation-related knowledge. However because of the higher than expected entering knowledge of most visitors, there were no statistically significant changes in overall knowledge.

    Something in this struck me – if visitors demonstrate a higher knowledge of ecological concepts, isn’t that a good thing? Is it possible that knowledge came from visiting zoos in the past? Also, if you manage to educate 10%, and that is presumably on-going, then isn’t that still making a difference? This research seems significantly biased to me – it’s pretty evident in the last sentence above. 10% is statistically significant.
    Last edited by darth-calvin, Jan 18, 2013