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.