Zoos only chooses animals that are the best in show. If the animal has a nervous habit, or a health condition, it won’t be chosen. At the zoo, the animals aren’t really provided with everything they need because food and a cage with some “living space” isn’t enough. Often animals are deprived of the company of other animals of the same species, which can leave them lonely. Very lonely. Also, if zoo animals were in their natural habitat, they would be forced to engage their survival mode, including hunting for food and avoiding potential predators. You might wonder why this would be important. What's wrong with an animal living on easy street? In a word, boredom. Severe boredom.
According to LCA, (Last Chance for Animals) other symptoms of zoochosis include bar biting, consuming fecal matter, self-mutilation, circling, rocking, rolling of the neck, frequent licking/grooming, and vomiting. When the animals grow to be too unhealthy for the zoo to publicly display them, the animals are sold, or even killed.
Zoos have marketed themselves as being educational institutions. They project to the public that by showcasing animals they are helping them by getting people to care about them. I suggest you do your own research and think about ways where education can occur without sacrificing what's best for the animals.
In order to help decrease the number of abusive zoos, multiple actions can be taken. A major one includes refraining from visiting zoos, and visiting sanctuaries instead. Animal sanctuaries take in animals that have been previously abused, and nurture them while still being safe for everyday individuals to visit.
While they might seem the same, there are many major differences between sanctuaries and zoos. Really, the only thing in common is that both are locations for the public to see wild animals living in a public space. Most sanctuaries find animals that are being illegally owned and take them in to raise them back to health. Many sanctuaries keep the animals in cages, until the animals are more comfortable. The more time that the creatures spend there, the greater the size of the cage is, until the animal is comfortable with more space. Eventually, the animals are moved to large plots of land, some being multiple acres large. Another main difference is the objective between zoos and sanctuaries; zoos only display their animals to the public to earn money as a business whereas sanctuaries have the objective of helping the animals survive and regain health.
So Where Can Sanctuaries Be Found?
Most sanctuaries aren’t very popular among “everyday citizens”, so it may seem slightly difficult to find one in a convenient location. To view a map of sanctuaries, click here. On the map, only sanctuaries that have been inspected and are certified as safe are marked.
Here's a link to some RESCUE STORIES from The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado. Find out how some of their animals ended up needing to be rescued.
GFAS Staff. "GFAS ACCREDITED SANCTUARIES AND GFAS VERIFIED
SANCTUARIES." Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. GFAS, 2013. Web. 23 May
LCA Staff. "Last Chance for Animals - Zoos." Last Chance for Animals. LCA, 2015. Web. 22
May 2015. http://www.lcanimal.org/index.php/campaigns/animals-in-entertainment/zoos
Shea, Rachel Hartigan. "Are Wildlife Sanctuaries Good for Animals?"National Geographic.
National Geographic Society, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 May 2015.