Endangered species trapped at the zoo

Three-and-a-half months ago, a mother polar bear at the Toronto Zoo gave birth to three cubs. She rejected them, but workers at the zoo were able to save one.

He made his debut on Feb. 3.

I was happy when I first heard the news of the surviving cub, but then I started asking myself if I should really be happy for him.  At three-and-a-half months old, he is being put on display in a confined habitat for thousands of people to see. What kind of life is that?

Dominic Alves-Machado, a guest at the zoo, says you should think of an animal the same way you would a human.

“What human being would enjoy being put on display and used for research their entire life?” he said. “I’m not sure anyone would.”

Since 2008, polar bears have been on the endangered species list, due to global warming. The Toronto Zoo has programs to help preserve the animals’ habitat and conducts research to help the species grow, but the animals are not able to thrive because they have been removed from their natural habitats.

Nicole Birmingham, a third year animal biology student at the University of Guelph, believes animals best belong in preserves or conservation areas.

“There they can be observed and researched,” she said. “All their needs can be met and they will have an opportunity to perform all their natural behaviours.”

Although it is costly to build and run a preserve, if you take the money that is put into zoos where animals are put on display in small environments it would be possible to have these facilities.

The Toronto Zoo has a variety of endangered species, including snow leopards and Panamanian frogs. They can also contract zoonotic diseases, which are caused by animals coming into contact with humans.

The animals are in environments not natural to them.

About this article

By: Alicia Ferroro
Posted: Feb 13 2012 11:03 pm
Filed under: Opinion

4 Comments on "Endangered species trapped at the zoo"

  1. Zoos are an important way to bring love of animals to people in the community that would have disregarded them. Some people are ignorant of animals and the need to protect their natural habitat. Zoos are an important educational tool to help the greater good.

    I am happy that I can take my younger family members to the zoo so they can learn to appreciate that animals are also part of the natural world that surrounds us. If it wasn’t for that little green spot in Toronto, we would be living in a concrete maze not exposed to the bigger picture of Earth.

  2. preserving animals definitively makes sense, but putting for display without adequate supplies and habitat can be a big question. If they are given proper and environment they are suppose to be in;then there is no harm in zoo, at least they are protect their.

  3. First off your last line, “The animals are in environments not natural to them” isn’t all that correct. Majority of animals in preservations and zoos are actually born there, just like this polar bear. So when you say it isn’t natural to them, well, it is considering that that is their birth place. Although your argument about being put on display and researched on is a signficant point and some people view it as cruel, you have to realize that yes, this is infact an endangered species, and without zoos and preservations, these animals wouldn’t exist. As a person part of PETA I understand where you’re coming from, but at the same time, the idea is to stop the endagerment and killings of these animals.

  4. dennis compayre | February 14, 2012 at 8:47 am |


    read the blog … from someone who has spent a lifetime with polar bears

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