Click here to read more about the issues surrounding the subspecies classification of the Arctic wolf.
It is not that a person who wants to learn about animals cannot do so from a visit to the zoo, but rather, that a zoo is not necessary, nor conducive, to such learning. It is a place where kids romp on splash pads or a merry-go-round, or eat junk food, and adults push strollers or snap pictures and a good time is had by all, except for the animals.
One response by the zoo community is, of course, that at least people get to see the animals they might otherwise learn about, and I'll address that, and other pro-zoo rationales, in future blogs.
Keep Wildlife in the Wild,
Species and subspecies: Put very simply, a subspecies is subdivision, within a species, consisting of an interbreeding population that is in some ways different from others of the species in other parts of the overall range, and yet freely interbreeding, or intergrading, where the two groups overlap. A species is always identified by a scientific name that is a "binomial," consisting of two words, the first, the genus, in this case Canis, and the second indicating the species, in this case lupus. If the species is found to have "subspecies," the species name of the first described subspecies is doubled - Canis lupus lupus - while the new subspecies and any subsequently seen and described are given a different third name, in this case Canis lupus arctos. The genus name is always uppercase, species and subspecies names are lower case, the name is always in a different font (usually italics) than the accompany text, and the subspecies name is called a "trinomial."