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Why People Captivate Wild Animals for Their Own Purposes

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I remember when I was 10 years old, I have fun memory of going to zoo with my family during the school holiday. The magnificent species in the zoo had surprise my view about the world. The birds, Orangutans, even the elephants and camel are all my impressions about zoo. Zoo is an interesting place. Since 2,500 B.C.E in Ancient Egypt, wild animal has been captive by king and conquerors used as status symbol. Nowadays, zoo become a place where keeping animals as a display with the purpose of education, conservation and scientific research. Zoo also can be a place with distortion reason. In the world where capital is particular about the goods and benefits, zoo then cannot escape from degraded as a tool for lawless person’s hands barely of their selfishness. Due to the rising number of the people with the awareness of morality, zoo has become a place that is being argued of both Pros and Cons sides. In this essay I will take you through some of the question on this issue, and not let the truth continue to be covered under the name of excuses.

You will not believe that the king of the jungle, tiger, can be so obedience in the zoo. It’s just like a cat in the house, cute and delightful. This scene is totally made my mind upside down as it is not the same with what I am thinking about the tiger when I went to visit back the zoo in high school. The wild behavior of tiger has been changed entirely after it sent to the zoo as an animal that captive for displaying to the public and amusing the people over there. With the curiosity, I search on the web and I found something incredible. They trained the tiger with bamboo stick if the tiger behaved badly, this training will repeat every day before the tourist come to visit. As time passes, this big cat has been trained to be cute and they lost their brutish nature eventually. Somebody might say, the tiger will kill the people with their brutish nature. If we are not going to train as soon as possible, who will take full responsible once the case happened? Well, the tiger is always belonging to jungle, so, its brutish nature is what it has born to be. Whereas, captivate tiger as pet is not what human should do at the beginning.

Another case is happened in Taiwan. In year 2013, 10th of July, a whale shark captive in the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium was already set it free from the aquarium to the nature sea. In just six hours, the whale shark, which had been kept in captivity for eight years, was stranded twice before finally sinking to the bottom of the sea with its innocent life to be a pet whale shark for human. 11th the next day, the company unexpectedly giving a falsely claim stated that the whale shark has already been swam to the ocean successfully. The whale shark made hundreds of millions of dollars for the company, and was treated rudely. This is no longer an isolated case, and the public has been saddened by the company’s response. Distrust of the company has once again raised the issue of animal rights in the eyes of the world. In fact, when the animal already gets used to with an environment for long times, it will lose its surviving ability and finally become a strong dependent animal that only can live under the captivity of human. What so shame of human behavior made one supposed to be free become contrary.

One of the missions of zoo is for scientific research. Well, I have a big question of this point. Look, zoologist usually doing scientific research is according to the nature behavior of animal. Take up the argument above, the behavior of animal will be so much change after lived in the zoo. Then, how the zoologist or whoever wanting to do behavioral research on animal can have a correct research report for it. On the contrary, the wrong report will not bring any benefits for human even all the living creatures lived in the world. This statement is not true even it does not hold the water at all. Moreover, many funds that support zoologist to do research is based on field research, this is no bond with zoo. There are two common ways the scientist does the research in the zoo, anatomy and pathology. The research usually for two purposes: to improve the health of animals in the zoo and serves for human health experiment. Once again, this is another excuse nothing to do with zoo. If there is no zoo, there is no need to establish an experiment for improving the animals in zoo. Furthermore, human DNA is not same with animal DNA, there is no reasons to do human experiment on animal. I believe with the latest technology, human is no longer to solve calculation in that such a wrong statement.

Even though I have a fun zoo experience when I am still a primary school kid, but I do not have learn any knowledge about zoology. I have fun because the circus event has performance by the animals. I have fun because I did not realize those funny, silly, dumpty actions performed by animals are not their nature behavior. They trained the animals can perform a show to attract even more visitors who can provides them a big amount of income. Information contributed by the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona shown the ratio within the expenses at the zoo. It is only 1.2% for animal’s medicines and 6.7% for animal’s food in perhaps every ten or thousands of million dollars. The data was amazed me that the animals in the zoo were always just a money-making tool. The purpose of education is no longer exists. And another thing based on my experience I found that the board show up the information in each animal only stated out the common information about the animal. In this information explosion era, I can check the information on website is better than I go to the zoo. Although this behavior is not enough of experience to touch the real animal, but the situation of the zoo today is tending to amusement and given a wrong reason and doing the failed action about the purpose of education.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), more than 40% of species in the world will be extinct from the world. Species are classified into 9 levels, based on the rate of decline, the total number of species, geographical distribution, and the degree of group dispersion. There is a level called Extinct in the Wild (EW), which meant those animals were already extinct in the wild but still can found in captive breeding center. A process that keep those animals which has been extinct in the wild and avoid the species extinct completely from the world is called captive breeding, this process is usually conducted by zoo. From my opinion, this process conduct in the zoo is the best choice for prevent the conservation become a commercial method that allow the lawless person take the opportunity earn illegal income. Because the transparent process displaying to the public and give no chance for them to do that dirty thing. But, also, captivity breed take risk. It is difficult to release species that have become extinct in the wild, even if their habitats have been restored. One of the main reasons is that they may not have the survival skills they need. These survival skills, usually taught by his parents, have been lost in captivity. In other words, even if the genes of the species survive, the causation among the populations has been lost.

Should we really keep animals in captivity and away from the wild? Or do we return them to the nature, to where they really belong? This argument will always have different opinions on both sides. In my personal opinion, animals should not be caged in the zoos, stripped from their freedom. It does not matter if it is for research purposes, preservation or education, animals should not be exhibited in zoos, but instead should be sent to national park or natural reserves to be protected from the brink of extinction. Animal lives are precious and they should have their rights to live in the wild which was meant to be instead of hunting them and bringing them into the grasp of mankind, and this act alone, is not at all precious. Some people believe that because of environmental disasters happening all around the world, nature is not what it used to be, therefore one of the reasons to keep the animals from extinction is captivity breeding, and although it is not encouraged to do so, we do not have much choice unless we want to see certain species of animals vanish forever. This results in the question of how we regard this matter as. To prioritize the profit without any care of the consequences is just wrong, and instead of discussing the rights and wrongs, wouldn’t it be better to start thinking about the cause of this problem and further understand the truth of the matter before we can effectively solve the problem.


  1. Dale, J. (2002) Essay on Human, other Animals, and the Rest of Nature. Moracity’s Progress. pp. 169-170
  2. Kira, F. Zoos Today. Zoos Through the Ages Book2. pp. 19-20
  3. Lori, M & Gay, B & Randy, M. (2009) The Captivity Industry: The reality of zoos and aquariums. Best Friends Magazine March/April, pp. 27
  4. Marc Alain, T. (2014). Zootopia-Animal Welfare, Species Preservation and the Ethics of Captivity. Poultry Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences, Volume 2, Issue2, pp. 1-2.
  5. National Geography. (2019) Zoo. Retrieved from
  6. WWF. (2007) Is Captive Breeding a Useful Conservation Tool. WWF Policy Statement on Captive Breeding-2007. pp. 1

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