Furthermore, I don't think this sort of exhibit does any justice to the majesty of animals. Personally, I get more of an insight into the lives of animals through a great PBS documentary. I will admit that I have heard some progressive rumblings from academics and friends in the animal studies field that the lines are starting to blur on what a zoo looks like and how it acts. Some are working towards more sanctuary-like qualities, such as one of my favorite institutions, the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary outside of Sacramento, California. But of course the American Zoological Association (AZA) won't accredit them. One reason being that they refuse to breed their animals, a standard practice in most zoos. Other zoos are recognizing that they're unable to adequately meet the needs of certain species like elephants, which typically have enormous herds and travel an unfathomable number of miles in the wild. The Detroit Zoo closed their elephant exhibit some years ago.
But one of the most exciting rumblings I've heard to date is the eZOO from Barcelona: a scientifically-driven, immersive, and experiential way to get up close and personal with animals, sans captivity. Ethics, environment, and conservation are the driving force behind this zoo alternative where you essentially walk into an enormous gallery with screens surrounding you to provide an IMAX-like experience. I sincerely hope it comes to fruition.