A family trip to the zoo is one of the easiest ways to expose your kids to the wide variety of animals that exist on this planet, while also providing valuable teaching moments about conservation and the effects people can have on nature.
You can see some amazing wildlife up close and personal, but a trip to the zoo is much more than that. You will likely learn many interesting facts about the animals in the zoo and their habitats. There is a lot of work being done by zoos to conserve endangered species that are under threat of anything from poachers to deforestation to disease. Learning about these dangers is the first step to taking action to help put an end to them, and oftentimes we can learn how to do our part to improve conditions from local zoos.
So, keep reading to discover why a visit to the local zoo or wildlife park is an excellent activity to plan for your next vacation.
- Zoos Breed Animals to Avoid Extinction
A lot of planning, thought and effort goes into the process of breeding within zoos; it is not simply a case of just putting a female and male in an enclosure together. Breeding is carefully controlled to ensure that endangered populations may still exist, while also preventing inbreeding. There are, in fact, several species that would now be extinct if it wasn’t for breeding in zoos; the Arabian oryx, Partula snails and the California condor, to name a few.
Critical breeding programs at zoos help ensure that endangered species may continue to survive and thrive. The leadership teams at zoos work together with their communities to support breeding programs and animal conservation.
- Zoos Provide an Educational Resource
If you go on a family outing to the zoo on your next vacation, your family will not only get to see all these magnificent creatures up close, but they will also have the opportunity to learn about them. This includes what they eat, how they interact with one another and what their natural habitat is in the wild. Not only that, zoos often teach children about their conservation efforts and explain the importance of the work that they do. There are often tours, presentations, feeding expos, and more scheduled at zoos to provide in-depth information about the animals that live there. Take advantage of all of these learning opportunities for your kids to learn more about their favorite animals and what they can do to help.
- Zoos Provide A Safe Haven for Endangered Animals While Protecting Others in the Wild
Unfortunately, many animals in the wild are under threat from poachers. Zoos offer a protected environment for these animals who would otherwise perish in dangerous environments while also being able to fund and send assistance to conservation programs to protect animals in the wild. Zoos and wildlife parks do all that they can to recreate the living experience that each animal would have in the wild, from their habitat and foods that they eat to the activities that they need on a daily basis to keep them mentally alert. This educates visitors and provides a long and healthy life under managed care for the animals.
Many zoos also incorporate donations to conservation programs that help protect wild habitats for certain species. Eric Mogensen, CEO of the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida, has organized partnerships between the zoo and top conservation programs such as the Sumatran Orangutan Society, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, and International Rhino Foundation.
You can find out more about these breeding programs and animal conservation at https://www.gbzoo.com/eric-mogensen.
- Zoos Offer Excellent Veterinary Care
The standard of care offered at zoos across the globe has never been better, with not just vets being on call, but pathologists, technicians and any other specialists that may be needed. Animals are regularly checked over and treated immediately if any issues are detected, as well as having their regular well being looked after, i.e., cleaning their teeth and administering vaccinations as and when they are needed.
The medical equipment available at the largest zoos worldwide is spectacular, with surgical suites, intensive care units, and even holding areas for animals waiting to be treated.
- Zoos Are Able to Research Wild Species
One of the many problems that animals face in the wild is the destruction of their natural ecosystems, the habitats that they need to live in, in order to survive. These ecosystems need to be restored in order for animals to continue to live safely in the wild. The easiest way to do this is to monitor these animals in a less risky environment with fewer variables. Meaning to study how they live, how they act, and how they react in their daily lives.
Furthermore, many zoos employ experts to study animal infection and disease, including methods that can assess the risk of their animals contracting a specific disease when they are reintroduced to the wild. There is one zoo in Washington that has been researching the treatment and early detection of the elephant herpes virus, which can be fatal to these animals.
- Zoos Can Help Reintroduce Animals to The Wild
Once an animal is at a zoo, that doesn’t mean that it can never live in the wild again. In fact, there are times when animals live in zoos for a certain time period and are then reintroduced to the wild. This happened with the Przewalski horse. In 1945, thirteen of these horses were captured from the wild and placed in a zoo in order to undergo an extensive breeding program to ensure the species’ survival. They were later reintroduced to protected habitats in the wild, and there are now roughly 2,000 in the world.
These are only a few reasons why visiting a zoo or safari park on your next vacation. Each visit is helping to pay for vital conservation work, research projects, invaluable veterinary care and necessary breeding to avoid some of the world’s beautiful wildlife from becoming extinct. Not to mention the enjoyment that your children will have seeing and learning about these endangered animals.
Who knows – your child might just be the next conservation activist or revolutionary researcher to continue to preserve endangered species.