One criticism that can be leveled at zoos is their location; most of the big zoos are located in temperate, rich, northern hemisphere cities, whereas the endangered species they hold are generally tropical. Therefore conditions necessary to prepare animals for release into the wild is hard to replicate. If zoos and aquaria were developed in the areas closer to where the animals would be re-released, reintroductions would be more successful and the local, less affluent population would be educated as to the value of their native biodiversity.
Finally, the role of zoos in most people's lives is to inspire. Much of this is aimed at children, the future decision makers, and it is hoped that a love of animals will carry over into their choices during adult life. But should zoos be targeting adults? Specifically the politicians that make the decisions on conservation funding, urging them to consider the potential of zoos to take on the biodiversity challenge that is facing us, a possible mass extinction that could turn our zoos into living museums.
By Alex Caldwell Frontier is an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Frontier has over 300 dedicated conservation and community development projects as well as plenty of inspiring gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information on all the opportunities available please visit www.frontier.ac.uk. Check out Frontier's blog 'Into the Wild' where you can read more articles like this! Happy reading! Get more from us on social media with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. See more from volunteers on YouTube, Flickr and Instagram #FrontierVolunteer.