Should We Have Zoos and Aquariums Or Not?

southwick zoo 23

It may be tragic to think this way, but sometimes I consider that zoos and aquariums are part of the solution to keep certain species alive. It is because our species is directly and indirectly involved in killing perhaps the majority of all living things across the world. Then we are breeding out of control to take over their former spaces, use their flesh (such as trees) for our resources, turn their land into farms, malls and housing developments, etc.

“The Holocene extinction, otherwise referred to as the Sixth extinction or Anthropocene extinction, is the ongoing extinction event of species during the present Holocene epoch, mainly as a result of human activity. … The arrival of humans on different continents coincides with megafaunal extinction.
Holocene extinction” – Wikipedia

Then we have the small (home style) and gigantic aquariums, too. For example:

New England Aquarium: Home
“The New England Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston, with over 1.3 million visitors a year, and a major public education resource.”

Aquariums can offset this happening a little bit:

All seafood will run out in 2050, say scientists – Telegraph…/All-seafood-will-run-out-in-2050-say-scientists.htm...
Nov 3, 2006 – The world’s stocks of seafood will have collapsed by 2050 at present rates of destruction by fishing, scientists said yesterday. A four-year study of 7,800 marine species around the world’s ecosystems has concluded that the long-term trend is clear and predictable. By 2048, to be exact, catches of all the …

It’s clear about where our Earth is heading. Indeed, I’ve been contentious with my town zoning board on this matter due to the whole thrust of human over-development. So it is with sorrow that I suggest that we may need zoos and aquariums to keep certain species alive.

My zoning board has allowed the tearing down of the 2 1/5 acre forest where my one barred owl primarily lives and hunts. Yup, and 42 apartments are being put there instead of the forest currently there. (It will be gone soon, along with the wetlands on this property removed, which the local animals use during drought periods.)

How are we doing with our destructive plans so far? The evidence speaks for itself:

Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF ……/earth-lost-50-wildlife-in-40-years-wwf
Sep 29, 2014 – The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and … The steep decline of animal, fish and bird numbers was calculated by analysing 10,000 different populations, covering 3,000 species in total. This data was then, for the first …

Moreover, my neighborhood has lost about twenty-five species over the past thirty years. I just don’t see them anymore. Simultaneously around ten more are on the decline here, I’ve noted.

We are a rapacious species. So maybe without zoos and aquariums, there won’t be much left on this planet except for ever more of us people.;-(

FYI: The Woodland train at Southwick’s Zoo in MA, USA takes you through around ten acres and along side of an around acre large pond. You ought to see all of the animals living there on this plot of land in the wild. They don’t care about the train. They are used to it. They stand in the water, nurse their babies and so on very close to the train….


The amount of freedom that the animals at Southwick’s have is impressive. It is more like a huge animal reserve rather than a zoo. It surely beats out being killed in the wild by poachers or simply dying because the land on which you once lived was taken over by humans’ hyper-development.

Frankly, I don’t want animals in zoos and aquariums, but if it is a choice between animals being confined in smaller spaces and their going extinct or declining in neighborhoods like mine — let’s go for the zoos and aquariums.

And while we’re at it, let’s build some arboretums, too, like this one close to me to try to preserve biodiversity. After all, our vast array of plant life is on the decline, too.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden is the home of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, the third oldest organization of its kind in the country. The society purchased Tower Hill Farm in Boylston in 1986 and has been building a beautiful year-round botanic garden on its 132 acres ever since.

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.


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