Some, Not All: Animal Captivity


Elizabeth Berberian, Journalist

Some, Not All

When you hear about the horrible occurrences in zoos, you may think that keeping animals in captivity is terrible. These things are bad, but some animals need extra support. We should keep some animals in captivity because they may be endangered, injured, and can be entertained while in captivity.

Endangered animals face various challenges in the wild. Poachers and predators are key factors in this. In zoos, endangered animals don’t have to deal with these threats. “Zoos and aquariums breed endangered and threatened species in captivity and later release some of them into the wild. Captive breeding programs have been successful in saving species such as the black-footed ferret, California condor, red wolf, and Arabian oryx from extinction” (Graf, 2019). Since zoos are large and have space, endangered animals can be protected from the threats mentioned above. 

Zoos also can give aid to animals in need. Zoos may seem like the worst place for an animal to live, but zookeepers make sure to give injured animals good hospitality. In the article “Zoo Complicated” Kathryn Hulick states, “Sometimes the motivation is to rescue an animal or a group of animals. Hawks that fly into windows, black bears that roam through human towns, and harbor seals that swim into propellers often end up in zoos.” Even though it may seem like zoos don’t care about the animals’ well-being, they usually are saving animals whose lives are being threatened by injuries. Animals can be in severe danger without a source of protection. Albino animals don’t have adequate camouflage because they’re not equipped with the pigmentation needed to survive. Also, if an animal loses a paw, it’s the same situation. Putting them in zoos will increase their chance of survival. 

Even if they aren’t injured, zoos still provide a good sense of entertainment for the animals. In zoos, the animals are never bored. They are provided with several activities and toys to play with in their enclosures. “Professional zookeepers know their animals, as well as people at home, know their dogs.” stated Don Moore in the article “Zoo Complicated.” Having the correct resources for zoo animals can make their life fun and entertaining. Doing this creates a positive environment for both the animals and the visitors. Several animals have been in zoos and never tried to get out. You only hear the bad stories of encaptured animals, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Some may say that if animals are kept in captivity, they should be released into the wild. However, look at that from the perspective of the animal.. Imagine being torn from your natural habitat for the profit of a different species. You have to remember that animals have emotions too, and keeping them in the wild without letting them be free can be mentally damaging.

Entertained, injured and endangered animals are occurrences where they should be kept in captivity. Wild animals should not be kept as pets because you are ripping them from their natural habitat, and you are limiting them from the freedom they deserve. But don’t always think of the worst when you see people or organizations keeping exotic, possibly endangered animals.  If you see an injured animal in your neighborhood, bring it to a local shelter, or somewhere it can stay safe until it recovers.