The Pros And Cons Of Zoos

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Zoos are supposed to be safe places for animals, so why are they forgetting the little guys? A new study published in Conservation Biology says zoos aren't doing enough to protect the world's most endangered amphibians. And that needs to change. Over 75 Percent of Zoos Keep Non-Endangered Amphibians Amidst Worldwide Decline As reported in Scientific American, U.K. researchers polled 800 American and European zoos and found that while amphibians are declining all over the world, "more than 75 percent of their [the zoos] amphibian collections included non-endangered species." And the bad news continues for amphibians since the zoos only housed 6.2 percent of the world’s threatened and endangered amphibians. Could zoos be doing better?…show more content…
The zoos open their doors to 15.9 percent of the world’s threatened birds and 23 percent of threatened (money-making) mammals. And we do know that when zoos band together to save amphibians it works. When the rare Kihansi spray toad vanished from its only Tanzanian habitat, Bronx and Toledo zoos were able "to preserve the toads and re-create a healthy population in the wild." In other words, zoos would rather invest in animals who don't thrive in captivity, versus investing in endangered amphibians they could actually help. So why aren't zoos stepping up for these little guys? There are a few factors, according to the authors of the study. It costs more to preserve an endangered species. The threat of disease and lack of husbandry experience are also factors. And here's the kicker: zoos are too preoccupied with "larger and more beautiful and charismatic animals that attract visitors," i.e. pretty and exotic animals like elephants, polar bears and the big cats. Should we let endangered amphibians go extinct just because most of them are ”small and brown" (and not as show-worthy)? Amphibians are Vanishing Right Before Our
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