Not Wild About the Zoo

Veronica Vyvoda, Guest Writer

Most of the people living in the Sacramento region have been to the Sacramento Zoo at least once in their life. The sky high giraffes walking around and the long armed monkeys swinging from branch to branch are a sight to see considering that the only untamed animals roaming the surrounding neighborhoods are disease-infected squirrels and birds.

Recently, the board of the zoo announced that they are looking to move from the Land Park location to give the animals greater room to roam around and add space for parking.

Jason Jacobs, the director of the board, states that the new location will add visitors while attempting to preserve and breed the various animal species.

Although many fans of the zoo don’t want it to move from the friendly site that they remember visiting as kids, the zoo should move for the sake of the animals.

Personally, I believe that animals have their right to have land that supports them and be around the different species from their similar origin.

It is not fair to the animals that they have to live in confined areas their whole life without being given the proper amount of space. Also, with more animals going extinct each year, it is no surprise that the zoo wants to relocate to allow more species to populate and grow diversely.

Zoos are known to have many different species of animals from many different parts of the world. However, with the small location of the Sacramento Zoo, there is a smaller amount of animals that live there compared to a few years ago.  

According to the Sacramento Bee, the board of the zoo wants to bring back all the animals they once had, “Stallard and Jacobs said recent surveys of zoo visitors made clear that people want to see “iconic” animals, such as rhinos, tigers, chimpanzees and other larger creatures. Rhinos and tigers have been phased out of the local zoo because of space restrictions, they pointed out. Sacramento still has chimps, but can accommodate only five of them and cannot breed them because of a lack of exhibit space. The zoo recently has had to send animals to other institutions to give other species more room.” Without the additional space, the zoo will not be able to bring any of these animals back and risk losing more in the future. Therefore, it is important the zoo moves for the sake of keeping the zoo alive and the animals given more space.

The fourteen acre Land Park site is not enough to house all the animals within the zoo. There are many different species that require a greater amount of space than the zoo is giving them.

A 2003 study written by Mark Derr and published in the science journal Nature reports that most zoos do not have nearly enough space for animals that range freely in the wild. The researchers, Dr. Georgia Mason and Dr. Ros Clubb, blame the lack of space on animals pacing in their cages and high infant mortality rates, especially for carnivores. This news is bad for the zoo, considering that they will be unequipped to hold some animals in the future due to the laws to preserve wildlife. To add on, additional scientists and animal rights activists are trying to promote the safety and protection of the animals to avoid the various species from going extinct while in captivity. They want to show others how the humans influence the future of the animals negatively by placing them in an environment that does not imitate the one they actually live in. With more support, a larger amount of people will be informed about the high risks and threats that the zoo impose to the animals.  

In the wild, animals are already exposed to the different species and should be in a zoo to allow the animals a more realistic scenario. Not to say that the lions should be in the same enclosement as the zebras, instead they should be in their own enclosed environment surrounded by the species that they would naturally encounter in the wild. The idea of having a zoo raises ethical questions among animal rights activist who believe that the zoo limits the potential for the animal to have a friend and learn to live on its own while being exposed to abnormal situations, “the animal is deprived of its natural social structure and companionship…the animal is forced into close proximity with other species and human beings which may be unnatural for it.” These statements from BBC show that humans find zoos an unethical place for wild animals to be in for their whole lives. However, the animals could be a part of different exhibits versus being spaced out based on their species which would leave them unable to experience what life would be like outside the cage. They are social just like humans and they need to stay social especially if they are going to spend the rest of their lives in a closed and highly secured environment.

There are many reasons as to why the Sacramento Zoo should move. Yet, the most important one should be for the animals; that they have their right to live a life where even though they have to be enclosed in an area, they can still be able to move around comfortably. Humans need to acknowledge that animals are naturally exposed to many different species in their habitats that they should have the same exposure when in a zoo. Animals affect this world in many amazing ways and people must respect and appreciate each of them. I believe the Sacramento Zoo should move to be able to accommodate for more animals while allowing them the amount of space, diversity, and ethical right they deserve.

The New York Times shares the evidence to prove that a substantial amount of land is needed in order to raise many of the animals humanely, “ Today the researchers, Dr. Georgia Mason and Dr. Ros Clubb, say the problems — including high infant mortality and a tendency to pace around and around in the cage — are directly related to the size of the animal’s home range in the wild. The typical zoo enclosure for a polar bear is one-millionth the size of its home range in the wild, which can reach 31,000 square miles, the authors said. Some captive polar bears spend 25 percent of their day in what scientists call stereotypic pacing, and infant mortality for captive animals is around 65 percent.” Scientists and animal rights activists are fighting to save many different species from going extinct due to captivity. They are trying to change everyone’s view on how humans are affecting the future of the animals negatively by placing them in an

environment that does not imitate the one they actually live in. With more support, a larger amount of people will be informed about the high risks and threats that the zoos impose to the animals.

There are more reasons as to why the Sacramento Zoo should move. Yet, it should not have to be about the amount of visitors that it attracts and the amount of money it earns yearly. It should be about the animals and

Naturally, the animals are exposed to many different species in their habitats that they should be around when they are in the zoo to encourage a feeling of home. If humans are able to take away an animal from its natural origin, then humans need to give the animal the correct amount of space and environment that will mimic the prior area.