Are Zoos Helping Endangered Animals?

Zoos were originally created for the purpose of introducing people to animals they would not otherwise have come across. Over time, humans have developed new technology that has shaped the world in different, and not always beneficial ways. Humanity’s impact on the world has increased and with that has come the destruction of many habitats for these animals. As this has occurred, the purpose of zoo’s has changed to be more about protecting and promoting endangered species.  Zoos around the world have created programs to further public knowledge, created ideal environments, and increased the population growth of endangered species.

Public Knowledge:

There many ways for people to learn about the endangered animals and other animals in the zoos while they are visiting. For example people can read the information plaques that are placed in front of the enclosures. These plaques have vital information about the animals, but they only teach the public so much about the individual animal.

Now more and more zoos are getting their zookeepers personally involved in educating the public. They have put in place an education program in which zookeepers will either be posted outside the enclosure by the plaques or doing a demonstration inside the enclosure with the anizoodemonstratormals. The demonstrators will educate the public on the natural and wild behaviors of the animals, so the public can learn about why these animals react to certain things inflicted upon them(Russo).

With more zoos jumping on the bandwagon, more and more people are being educated about the needs and behaviors of these endangered animals. Also, with demonstrators there is a known increase of public knowledge, which was done through a Sci-Ed study.

Ideal Environment:

Having the correct environment to live in is so important to the survival of these endangered animals. Animals in zoo are supposed to live in enclosures called ‘Spebirdaviarycialized Habitats.’ These habitats have many features and requirements depending on the animals they are created for. For example, aviaries are specialized habitats for birds. These habitats include being a dome shaped structure that is built out of glass. They also have controlled climates, specific trees, and insects for the kinds of bird enclosed in the habitat(National Geographic Society). These specialized habitats are extremely crucial for the well-being and livelihood of the endangered species within them.

Population Growth:

The question of whether or not zoos are increasing the population of endangered animals raised frequently. Zoos are in fact helping the population growth, although it is slow the numbers of the animals alive has improved.

There has been a program introduced to zoos that has drastically helped the population. It’s called  the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZAs’) Species Survival Plan (azasspSSP) Program. This plan’s goal is to control the breeding of endangered animals so they can have a better life when the offspring are born and while the adult animals go through the mating process.  Through the program zookeepers are taught how to work with specific animals and tend to their needs as best as possible.  This program also conducts research on the animals so zoos can increase their knowledge about the animals and raise awareness for the animals. The program also works to help the animals integrate back into the wild once they are healthy both mentally and physically ready(Species Survival Plan Programs).

Zoos today promote public knowledge about the species they house, create natural environments for them to live in and have increased the population of the species they care for. They have gone from just places where animals are cared for to a place that also helps their animals wild relatives.

Read the Full Research Paper Here:

Works Cited:

Russo, Cristina. “The Role of the Zoo in Education and Conservation.” Sci-Ed, 15 Mar. 2013, Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.

Society, National Geographic. “Zoo.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.

“Species Survival Plan Programs.” Species Survival Plan Programs, Accessed 18 May 2017.


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