The zoo is not a good place for kids to appreciate animals

Chasity Alicea, Reporter

As a kid in middle school, there was always that field trip to the zoo. We would look forward to that day where we could see all the exotic, wild animals. It was a fun experience.

Most people think that exposing children to animals in the zoo promotes appreciation and an understanding of nature’s wild creatures. I think it shows them something very different.

Kids don’t get a full understanding of what a wild animal is by looking at them through a glass in a small enclosure. The animals in the zoo aren’t really behaving in a natural state, they can never really be their true selves being confined and put on display.

I recently saw a video of a little girl tapping the glass of a lion enclosure. She was face to face with an adult male lion blowing kisses at him.

In that child’s mind, she doesn’t fully understand the power of that animal and how dangerous he could be. Meanwhile, the lion is very still, scrunching his nose and baring his teeth.

To anyone who knows basic predator body language you know that that lion is not friendly at all, and if that glass was not there, it would be a deadly situation. But the little girl and other kids around her were loving the “attention” the lion was giving her.

In the video, the girl and other kids continued to tap the glass in the lion’s face, the lion suddenly pounces at the glass and starts to scratch at the girls face. The girl’s mother noticed that it went too far and removed her child from the glass.

That video shows the frustration animals go through while living in zoos. They have to endure the constant agitation from people taunting them through their glass cages. And children don’t understand that that behavior is dangerous and shouldn’t be praised.

How can kids be expected to appreciate wild animals if they see them as cute and entertaining? I started to see the truth behind zoos at an early age; I was around 12.

I started to wonder if the animals were actually happy living in the zoo, and after I discovered that they weren’t, I didn’t want to go to the zoo anymore. Captivity is an unnatural and unhealthy environment for any wild animal to be in. This includes aquariums, especially places like Sea World.

The captivity of animals in my opinion is just a way for humans to exploit the natural world. To big companies like Sea World, and many zoos, animals are just a means to gain money. The most common thing said at these places is “the animals live longer in captivity then they do in

the wild,” which, in many cases, is not true. Captivity causes stress related health issues that would not occur if they were in their natural habitat.

I feel like kids would learn more and appreciate the animals for what they are more just by watching the National Geographic channel.

If parents want to expose their children to seeing an actual wild animal, drives through safaris are a much better option to go to. At least in the safaris, the animals aren’t put behind a glass and surrounded by walls. Children need to learn that wild animals need to be respected and treated with dignity. Not held in a cage and put on display for human entertainment.

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