A zoo is not just a place to see animals—it is a place of education. And the heart of every modern zoo is conservation.
What Is Conservation?
Conservation is the process of protecting and preserving natural resources so future generations can enjoy them. You conserve natural landscapes by taking steps to maintain the diverse flora and fauna of Mother Earth.
Zoos have done a lot for conservation. Years ago, keeping a zoo was considered a threat to conservation because animals were kept in subpar cages and inhumane conditions. But today, most animals are no longer held in constricting physical structures. Most zoos now replicate the animals’ natural habitats to the best of their ability.
Animals in zoos are not as free as when they are in the wild. However, they are fed regularly and do not have to hunt their own food. They also have ample space to roam without the danger of being hunted, which is one way their species are preserved.
Modern zoos also have research facilities wherein highly trained professionals can enjoy a live laboratory. Researchers can observe the animals in their semi-natural habitats and learn more about their proclivities and social tendencies. As a result, researchers may have better recommendations about natural conservation.
Best Zoos and Aquariums for Conservation Advocacy
The best zoos prioritize the welfare of the animals instead of the entertainment of guests.
Here are the best zoos and aquariums that advocate natural conservation:
1. SeaQuest Las Vegas
Visitors will be treated to a land and sea adventure at SeaQuest Las Vegas. It has over 20,000 feet of space where guests can interact with hundreds of animals from five continents.
The aquarium welcomes over two million visitors each year. Guests can learn about the ecosystem while interacting with animals during feeding time.
SeaQuest takes proactive steps in the preservation and conservation of animal species as it helps endangered animals give birth safely in the facility.
2. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
The San Diego Zoo aims to fight the extinction of various species through conservation genetics, reproductive sciences, and population sustainability. It is a 100-acre wildlife park home to over 12,000 animals from over 650 species and subspecies.
Over 200 scientists have ties with the zoo for its conservation efforts. So far, it has reintroduced around 30 endangered species of animals into the wild and aims for more.
3. Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest and oldest wildlife conservation parks in the U.S. It is home to over 4,000 animals representing more than 600 species.
It is a leader in conservation efforts with its successful reintroduction of the spray toads to the Tanzanian wilds, American bison to the western plains, and hellbenders to New York rivers.
The zoo has over 4,000 employees worldwide, many of whom are researchers studying natural conservation and animal diseases such as Ebola, avian flu, and canine distemper.
The more people interact with animals in zoos or aquariums, the more receptive they are to messages and initiatives of conservation. Frequent visitors are also more inclined to seek out and participate in conservation activities.