Within a century they will be the only places you can see certain wild animals. If we can't keep the natural populations alive, the least humanity can do is keep a token stock in captivity for posterity.
I suppose an argument against zoos - at least the old-fashioned London Zoo types - is that it is cruel to the animals to put them in cages. But even setting aside the above point (whereby even being imprisoned is better than death), that is no longer the case with many zoos. The animals are well-treated, have plenty of space and are kept in an environment designed to imitate their natural habitat as closely as possible.
Many zoos have an important part to play in the conservation and breeding of endangered species, they also educate visitors by allowing them to see such great animals they otherwise would not be able to and, perhaps more importantly, allow people see these amazing creatures which could be lost without action - encouraging many to support causes which try to protect these animals in their natural environments.
Many zoos are invovled in conservation projects with series of other zoos to ensure the best chance of survival of all species on the planets.
Some speices which can pretty much own their current existence to zoos include the Père David's Deer and Przewalski's Horse.
Where would have these nationla parks? UK? Elsewhere?
How would they save endangered species? How would they encourage increased breeding? They'd simply leave the animals alone in the national park to live by themselves and not encourage their numbers to grow into other areas.
We should concentrate on conserving the animals' natural environments. While there are conservation arguments for keeping animals in captivity, in the end it's not natural. While the animals may be cared for well, I still believe that it's not right to keep them in captivity. I don't agree with keeping animals in zoos purely so we can enjoy seeing them.
(Original post by Roger Kirk)
Which animals should not be in Zoos then?
Which ones are happy in Zoos?
I don't think big cats should be in zoos and migrating animals have a question mark over them. Some animals are destined for extinction however, I think it isn't our duty to save them but for human interest stories we should keep a few alive. Pandas fall into this category.
Monkeys, lizards, llamas etc are ok in zoos. Essentially the animals under "prey" do well whereas the predators don't.