While most people think that zoos are a safe and healthy place for animals that keeps them safe, there are a large number of zoos that do not take good care of their animals. Many animals in captivity mistreated, and “between 3,000 and 5,000 healthy zoo animals are killed in Europe every year” (King). The Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia is by far one of the worst zoos in the United States. The zoo has failed to do many of the following; providing adequate care to sick and injured animals, safely and humanely handling animals, providing clean drinking water or water at all, and properly cleaning cages (Cruelty).Because many animals die prematurely due to starvation, depression, and improper care and their habitats sometimes do not give them the space or things that they need to thrive, zoos should have more strict regulations.
There are many cases of animals that die prematurely due to starvation, depression, and improper care in zoos. In these instances, the animals are not properly cared for in their habitats and can become emaciated. Emaciation and starvation can occur because of many of the following: depression, because it can lead to the animal not wanting to eat, also because the zookeepers simply do not care. A zoo that does not take care of its animals properly is the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria. The zoo is unsafe for animals of all kinds and should be shut down because “486 inhabitants had died of causes including emaciation and hypothermia between December 2013 and September 2016” (Perraudin). The depression of animals in zoos is most often caused by the lack of socializing with other animals. At a Seaworld in Miami, an orca named Hugo killed itself by ramming its head into a wall repeatedly because it was stressed and depressed (Captured). Because things like this happen in zoos and animals die from starvation, depression, and improper care, zoos shouldhave more strict regulations.
Along with preventing zoo animals from dying because of starvation, depression, and improper care, they also need habitats that give them the space or things that they need to thrive. In 2016, there was a polar bear in a mall in Beijing, China that was considered to be the world’s saddest polar bear. According to the New York Times, Pizza, the polar bear, was “part of a disturbing trend in China: exhibiting wild animals in malls to attract customers as more people turn to often cheaper and more convenient e-commerce,” and just another way to get money (Tatlow). Another instance of animals being kept in habitats that are not fitting for them is at a small aquarium in Morro Bay, California. The Morro Bay Aquarium has sea lions held in “three small partitioned cages, reminiscent of the old-style zoo bear pits, but less deep, with peeling mint-green paint and growing algae” with tourists paying to feed them dead fish (Xploitationfiles). Even though the sea lions are obviously unhappy in the self-proclaimed aquarium, the locals consider it a “beloved institution” and continue to praise the owners as they keep the animals in their five by three meter pens (Xploitationfiles). Because zoos treat animals like this and do not give them the space they need to thrive, they should have more strict regulations regarding animal habitats.
Although zoo animals’ habitats do not always give them the space or things that they need to thrive, some might argue that if the animals’ habitats are too big, then people would not be able to see them and learn about them. Zoos exist for entertainment and educational purposes and if people could not see them due to the size of their habitats it would defeat their purpose. Although this is true, the health of animals should not be put at risk because of of someone’s “need” to see them. If someone is wanting to go to a zoo for educational reasons, it is just as easy-if not easier-for people to watch documentaries about animals that could be found in zoos, rather than going out of their way to see them.
Animals die prematurely in zoos for many different reasons and deserve to have better regulations that properly protect them and keep them healthy.They should be treated better and have more room to roam, similar to what they would have if they were in the wild. After being taken from their homes they deserve, at the very least, they should be treated as they would in their natural habitat. No animal should be forced to live in unsanitary, unfitting, and unsafe environments where their lives are at risk.