View Full Version : Zoos-good or bad?

29th Mar 2008, 01:09
Wet phart liberal say's "oh no, the animal's should be left to roam in the wild," but then someone pointed out that there'aint no wild anymore.

Anyway, gotta say, these guys looked quite happy....at Blackpool Zoo


long live the zoo's?

29th Mar 2008, 01:14
Blazpool Zoo? I used to play on t'tip before it were a zoo.

Anyone still got them free tickets what the council give out fut Centenary? One fut zoo and one fut Derby Baths. I still got 'em, but only because I bought someone else's on ebay :}

Aviation content too, because zoo's built on the site of the old Blackpool Aerodrome. :8

29th Mar 2008, 01:51
Oh dear Emma, looked again at their eye's and your right, they do look a bit sad.

I've never seen a lizard or monkey in the flesh, but I have seen a few seals, whilst surfin', and they did look a bit happier.

29th Mar 2008, 02:08
People have the somewhat romantic idea than an animal in its wild, natural habitat is a happy animal. Two things are not quite right with this concept; firstly, animals do not feel “happiness” as we understand it in human terms and secondly, any animal living in the wild is a stressed creature.

Mother Nature is not the kindly, benevolent, all-wise and comforting person we would like to think she is. More realistically, she conforms to Tennyson’s idea of “Nature, red in tooth and claw.” An animal in its natural habitat can be subject to severe stresses and its lifespan, compared to that of its zoo-kept brethren, will be far shorter and far more dangerous.

A wild animal is subject to all manner of internal and external parasites that can cause sickness, pain and death. If it breaks a leg or sustains significant physical damage, it is likely to die in misery (nobody is going to take it to the vet) or be killed and eaten by predators. The predators, of course, will not always bother to make sure the animal is dead before tucking in to their lunch. A wild animal will have the lifelong stresses of competing for its share of the food and water and for the right to breed and pass on its genes to the next generation.

All of this is designed so that the “survival of the fittest” principle kicks in … and that used to work really well until we, the super-predators of this planet, started destroying environments, killing the animals and reducing the gene pools to tiny gene puddles. Heterozygosity is the term we use to describe genetic differences within a particular species. The lower the measure, the less likely the creature is to survive; the Giant Panda is a classic example of this. There are only about 1,000 of them left in the world and that’s not much of a gene pool to work with. Same now with cheetahs … it has got to the point where ALL cheetah are extremely closely related; too closely for good health. One of the serious problems of low heterozygosity is a compromised immune system and there are some bugs now to which the cheetah has no immunity at all, if they become infected, they will die.

Low heterozygosity applies to every animal species whose environment we destroy. Lower population numbers result in lower heterozygosity and the survival of the species comes under enormous pressure. This is where zoos come in. In times gone by, zoos were for entertainment and people were not terribly concerned about any other aspect. Nowadays, zoos have proper captive breeding programmes and access to worldwide gene pools (in some cases) to help rebuild the heterozygosity levels of their animals. Even if that is not possible, there is a kind of “fall-back position” where, if the species can survive the “inbreeding depression stage,” they can recover population numbers to a reasonable degree but most of the offspring will have vulnerable immune systems compared to an animal bred from a more diverse gene pool.

Most zoos now are extremely responsible in the way they handle and exhibit their animals. For many threatened species, zoos may be the only hope our future generations have of ever seeing a panda, tiger, cheetah or any one of the thousands of environmentally stressed species whose existence we are in the process of systematically destroying.

Are zoos a good thing? You bet they are!

29th Mar 2008, 02:11
Couldn't give a toss about the earth's biodiversity, but don't see the continued need for zoos. What's wrong with huge plasma screen and David Attenborough?

29th Mar 2008, 02:34
Couldn't give a toss about the earth's biodiversity,

Thats why we are destined to fail:sad:

29th Mar 2008, 03:08
They are an abomination in this day and age. No excuse for them; except perhaps to house and breed species made so endangered by man that there remains no other option for their resurrection, with a few spare cages for people who don't know how to use the apostrophe. Zoo's what, incidentally?

29th Mar 2008, 03:46
Tigs2: We homo sapiens are destined to fail. What is so special about you (or me)? You share 98% of your genetic code with that cat sitting on your lap. The cat doesn't care. All it cares about is getting fed tonight.

So tuck in, drink up - and give that cat a pat on the head for being so wise.

29th Mar 2008, 04:16
they all look sad to me in the pictures...

Possibly the zoo animals are feeling some Weltschmerz about humanity, from looking at the hurried and worried faces and ill-fed bodies of the humans passing by.

29th Mar 2008, 09:23
a 'good' zoo is a good zoo...
a 'bad' zoo is a bad zoo....

Gerald Durrell got it right IMHO. :ok:



29th Mar 2008, 13:15
Well said Bluey!

In an ideal world, I would be against the concept of zoos but, in practical terms most are doing vital work.

29th Mar 2008, 13:47
a 'good' zoo is a good zoo...
a 'bad' zoo is a bad zoo....

And a Shitzu is a dog. :E

29th Mar 2008, 14:09
T. rex might have done mucht the same job in the past Oh come on. T Rex has an undeserved reputation. By and large he was pretty 'armless.

29th Mar 2008, 16:33
... despite sharing 98% of our genetic material....
That's odd, G-EMMA ... you dislike my assertions on the grounds that they are "old" yet you are happy to quote from a study that is more than 30 years old yourself. But that's okay, the problem that has to be addressed when it comes to DNA is "What does it mean?"

You've quoted chimps so we'll stay with them. In spite of the fact that we share 99% (not 98) of our DNA with chimps, the differences between us are striking. But, to start at the beginning with the King/Wilson study that you quoted from all those years ago ...

King and Wilson compared the chimp vs. human amino acid sequences of several proteins (such as cytochrome c, hemoglobin, and myoglobin), and found the sequences either identical, or very nearly so. They concluded that "the sequences of human and chimpanzee polypeptides ... are, on the average, more than 99 percent identical”

This small section of the study became one of the most widely misunderstood pieces of writing in science and gave rise to what is now known as The Myth of 1%. People (non-scientists) believed that a one percent difference was hardly any difference at all, but nothing could be further from the truth. You know yourself the dramatic difference that ONE altered chromosome alone can make when you look at the chaos created in the human body by trisomy 21 ... Down Syndrome. The message here is that a minor difference is really a major one and that 1% difference between human and Pan Troglodytes is an enormous one, not a small one.

To quote Haussler (Prof. Biomolecular Eng. UC)

Yet it remains a daunting task to link genotype to phenotype. Many, if not most, of the 35 million base-pair changes, 5 million indels in each species, and 689 extra genes in humans may have no functional meaning. “To sort out the differences that matter from the ones that don’t is really difficult.”

In short, chimps and humans are more different than they are alike. Just to put things in perspective, we also share 50% of our DNA with bananas and 60% with fruit flies.

I must admit though ... I find it puzzling that you are prepared to keep a dog in captivity. The difference between your pet and the wolf from whom he/she
is descended is estimated to be as little as 40 genes. That's a microscopic amount of genetic information compared to the huge differences contained in that enormous 1% gap between the chimp and the human.

Solid Rust Twotter
29th Mar 2008, 18:16
To accurately describe what they're feeling, as you claim to be doing by looking at their eyes, is a bit far fetched IMO. :rolleyes:

Lon More
29th Mar 2008, 20:16
T Rex has an undeserved reputation

I always thought their music was [email protected] too.

I see the Earth Mother took a bit of revenge on the seal clubbers earlier

30th Mar 2008, 00:05
A good zoo has to be better than Nintendo or Xbox.

30th Mar 2008, 00:29
We used to visit a provincial zoo (not in the UK) where the majority of the animals (such as the giraffes, hippopotami birds and primates) seemed to behave satisfactorily, however there was a lone polar bear in a concrete enclosure (with a pool) that demonstrated alarming behaviour - constant pacing to and fro over a few metres (classic stress/boredom syndrome) which was distressing to watch (and no doubt also for the bear).
When animal behaviour such as that occurs it is time to act and either change the environment, move the creature to another location (transfer to a different zoo) or put the poor thing out of its misery. There is no excuse (IMO) to keep any living thing in unsuitable conditions (and I include next-door's rabbit - confined to a tea-chest-sized cage in a shed with no opportunity for exercise or even daylight).
Budgerigars and the like should at least have an aviary and other birds, rather than the traditional 'birdcage'.

30th Mar 2008, 01:22
I guess all your papers prove that animals do not have emotions.
They prove nothing of the sort, and that must be one of the most far-fetched and wildly inaccurate conclusions ever seen hereabouts.

... plenty of people were worried that the only difference between us and chimps was social.
The only people who expressed such concerns were, as I recall, such folk as bishops, priests or other religious "leaders." Heresy, they called it ... in the traditional manner of religious folk everywhere, and were horrified at the thought that we might actually be related to animals!!! It probably makes them feel positively distraught to know we are actually genetically related to every living organism on the planet because everything that lives here shares the same DNA. Same double helix construction, same four nucleotides - whether you're a fish, a sunflower, a human or an albatross. The differences between us are created only by different nucleotide sequences. Now there's something for the hand-wringers to get really upset about.

Yeah, chimps are really different to us arn't they. Never seen a motorist picking their nose when they think nobody is looking.

Thank goodness we don't classify animals according to whether they pick their noses or not ... it's actually a little more complex than that.

30th Mar 2008, 04:21
When I was a kid, our zoo contained most of its animals (lions, tigers, apes etc) in smallish cages with no vegetation or privacy. These days however, zoo's by and large try and replicate the animals "natural" environment as much as practically possible. Our zoo has certainly adopted this practice and on the odd occasion I have been there of late you may not even see some of the animals because of the environment provided for them.

Have to agree that mankind's ongoing destruction of the environment makes the importance of zoos (and captive breeding programs) a necessity.


30th Mar 2008, 06:50
I've got no problem with Man's (and Woman's) ongoing destruction of the environment. As long as Man (and Woman) can keep the environment going for another 30 years, then I'm fine with it. As for my children, they will just have to cope the best they can - ungrateful little b*ggers.

30th Mar 2008, 11:21
Unfortunately, IMHO, the human race and majority of other creatures that inhabit this planet, will be lucky to see another 20-50 years for at least the following reasons: (i) extremists obtaining nuclear weapons and using them at the first opportunity (it will happen - it's only a matter of when); relentless destruction of the environment for which too many people don't give a f***k.

Unfortunately the human race has demonstrated time and time again its inability to live in peace and it will be our undoing in the end.

They're my views anyway.


30th Mar 2008, 20:36
My unhappy captive dog this morning:)


Jimmy Macintosh
30th Mar 2008, 20:37
It's interesting I have always thought zoos to be bad, a terrible place for an animal to live. Then I read "the life of pi" the beginning portion of the book goes into great detail about zoos and a lot of the description makes sense. Now I quite happily go to zoos and don't think that they're that terrible a place anymore. Steve Irwin clearly loved animals and still had a zoo, doesn't that show that a zoo done right must be a good thing?