While proponents of zoos say that they inform and educate the public as well as raise much-needed funds for conservation, opponents say that at least for some species, the wild is where they belong.
After the incident with the panda cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo last week, Born Free USA CEO Adam M. Roberts told The Dodo that living in captivity can be a miserable life for an animal.
"Humans make a significant - and deliberate - mistake when they place wild animals in captivity for the visitors' amusement," he said. "And no matter how much money is spent on these artificial exhibits, they are never foolproof and accidents will happen - with painful, if not deadly, consequences."
If found guilty of negligence that caused that Ah-he's death, the owner of the zoo could face a year in jail.