Zoos and wildlife parks

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Zoos and wildlife parks

There are many facilities in New Zealand that hold wild animals, from traditional zoos like Auckland Zoo to wildlife and safari parks like Kingdom of Zion (Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary). Zoos, especially, argue that they take part in important conservation work, educate the public, and provide animals with enriched habitats. In reality, the business model of zoos involves many things that have nothing to do with conservation or education and are more about keeping animals as living museum exhibits.

Animals in zoos and safari parks are prevented from doing what is natural to them: basic behaviours such as roaming their territories, choosing a mate and deciding what and when to eat. Lacking stimulation and appropriate social interaction, many animals show signs of severe stress and boredom.

Whether you are planning on visiting a zoo or safari park here in New Zealand or overseas, there are a number of factors to consider.

Uncover the facts

Conservation benefits overstated

Zoos promote the idea that their main priority is the conservation and protection of endangered species, but most animals in zoos are not endangered at all.

Education or exploitation?

When zoos are marketed as educational, it is easier to forget that individual beings are being held in circumstances to which they are unsuited. Around the world, some zoos also force animals to perform tricks for the public, with no regard for how this might affect the animal.

An unnatural environment

Even the best zoo cannot adequately provide for an animal adapted to live in the wild. Animals in their natural habitats can roam hundreds of kilometres, hunt prey, raise their offspring and enjoy complex social relationships.

Profit before protection

When no longer needed, animals may be sold or loaned by a zoo with complete disregard for those species for whom forming strong bonds is important to their general wellbeing. Being moved to unfamiliar surroundings, new social groups and new keepers can all be very traumatic for the animals, as in the wild many species remain in their groups or families for life.

Take action

  • Do not go to zoos or wildlife parks and talk to your family and friends about why you oppose zoos.
  • Learn about wildlife in your local area or through nature documentaries and the Internet.
  • Support genuine efforts to protect animals in the wild, such as habitat preservation, tree planting, beach clean-ups, and more.
  • Visit a sanctuary or wildlife refuge in New Zealand or overseas.
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