Wildlife Attractions Animal Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2849 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Animals

Indeed many people visit zoos and other wildlife attractions and there is great potential to teach the public about wildlife welfare in conservations (Animal Ethics Clarifier). This can be done through information plaques near animal exhibits and through explanations given by tour guides (Animal Ethics Clarifier).

On the other hand those that oppose these attractions assert that even when these educational tools are present most people do not absorb the information. The author points out that "Even where relatively good educational material is available, little of it can be absorbed at any one visit and most zoo-goers disregard it; children especially rush from one exhibit to another, staying a while only if animals are being fed (Animal Ethics Clarifier)."

Those that oppose wildlife attractions also assert that they are not necessary to promote public education (Animal Ethics Clarifier). They point out that television is a better way of educating people about animals and many educational programs about wildlife show the public animals in the wild and present a more accurate view of their behaviors (Animal Ethics Clarifier). Those that oppose the attractions point out that "Unnaturally housed or mad animals cannot be representative of their species. Good wildlife programmes show normal behavior of animals in their natural surrounds. Animals do not need to be locked up for us to lean about them (Animal Ethics Clarifier)."


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The last reasoning that is usually presented for the existence of wildlife attractions is entertainment or leisure. This is particularly true of wildlife attractions such as Sea World that also houses animals that perform for large audiences. When visitors go to these attractions they expect to see whales and dolphins performing and interacting with the trainers. The visitors pay hefty fees to enter the attractions and expect to be entertained.

Term Paper on Wildlife Attractions Animal Attractions Such Assignment

However, the main argument against the entertainment theory is that wild animals belong in their natural habitats and should not be subjected to being handled or stared at by human beings. Furthermore, a BBC article explains that wildlife attractions do not treat animals with respect, violates the right of wildlife to live in the wild (Zoos and Circuses 2004). In addition, these attractions remove animals from their natural social structure and natural habitat. The exhibits also forces animals to perform in ways that are contrary to their natural behavior (Zoos and Circuses 2004). There have also been allegations and findings of cruelty associated with training the animals and the manner in which the animals are transported (Zoos and Circuses 2004). Additionally animals are taught to perform while only their minimum needs for food and shelter are met (Zoos and Circuses 2004).

Deaths of animals in Wildlife attractions

Overall, animals raised in Zoos due tend to live longer than their counterparts in the wild and they tend to die from old age or from being euthanized.

In recent years there have been a considerable number of animal deaths at zoos. There is also controversy associated with the way in which animals are disposed of when they die at wildlife attractions. According to Benbow (2004) many animals die way before there bodies expire. The author asserts that

"Some see zoological collections and germ banks as small Arks ... others see zoos as living museums; once an animal enters a zoo, it is essentially dead. Stripped of its behavior, social context and ecological milieu, a lion is no longer a lion, but a bag of DNA waiting for its next meal, a chance to copy its DNA or death" (Ginsberg 4). For example, the Guam kingfisher is extinct in the wild but is being bred successfully in zoos. Because its extinction is the result of an introduced snake, and it is unlikely that this threat will be removed in the near future, it is a matter of debate as to how long this species can or should be continued (Benbow 2004)."

Benbow (2004) also asserts that all zoo animals will die but there must be more accountability as it relates to the way the animal died and the state of the animal at the time that it died. The author explains that there are many factors that can cause deaths in animals at wildlife attractions based on the type of animal and the nature of the captivity (Benbow 2004). Some of these factors can also be found in the wild. However, animals at attractions are more susceptible to illnesses that are not found in the wild such as tuberculosis. The author also reports that some animal species die at a specific point in their life cycles. Some also die as a result of natural behaviors such as reproduction. (Benbow 2004).

In addition, animals at wildlife attractions are also subject to be attacked by visitors or poisoned by materials that are placed in their habitats or enclosures. Many animals are also injured while trying to escape. The author also asserts that

"Heini Hediger, author of numerous books on zoos and director of the Zurich Zoo during the mid-twentieth century, allocated an entire chapter in his book Man and Animal in the Zoo (1969) to the causes of death in zoo animals. He cited the general causes of death in zoo animals as their enclosure environments, their food and maintenance, other organisms (including disease pathogens), the effects and activities of humans (including visitors and zoo staff), and the unknown. However, veterinary care, the maintenance of enclosure environments, protection from predators and parasites, and the provision of adequate quantities and qualities of food can extend life in a way not possible in the wild (Benbow 2004)."

Indeed all the animal deaths at wildlife attractions are relatively rare, most of the deaths that do occur can most often be avoided. Those that are opposed to wildlife attractions insist that these animals are better off in the wild.


The purpose of this discussion is to investigate the pros and cons of wildlife attractions. The discussion reviewed the four main arguments as it pertains to wildlife attraction ethics. The arguments included scientific research, conservation, educating the public and entertainment. We found that advocates of wildlife attractions believe that they are necessary for the purpose of research. They argue that research can be conducted through observation, and taxonomy. However those that oppose the attractions assert that most attractions do not have the funding needed to conduct any valuable research. They also assert that any research that is gathered through observation is not accurate because the animals are not in their natural habitat.

The research also indicates that conservation is often an argument that is used in favor of wildlife attractions. However the research indicates that most animals at these attractions are not endangered. The research also indicates that many of the species that are endangered can not be reintroduced to the wild because their natural habitats have been destroyed

As far as education and entertainment are concerned most advocates of wildlife attractions assert that zoos are needed to provide public education and that many zoos provide visitors with solid information about the animals and they provide entertainment for the visitors. Those that are opposed to wildlife attractions assert that most of the information available is not absorbed by visitors and that wild animals should not serve as entertainment for human beings.

We also discussed the deaths of animals at wildlife attractions. We found that most animals live longer at wildlife attractions than do their counterparts in the wild. However, the research indicates that animals in captivity are more likely to contract human borne illnesses and die from poisonings and other manmade factors.


Animal Ethics Clarifier.n.d.http://www.wolftrust.org.uk/aec-x-entries.html#zoos

Benbow, S. Mary P. 2004. Death and Dying at the Zoo. Journal of Popular Culture 37, no. 3: 379+.

Bostock, Stephen C. 1993. Zoos and Animal Rights: The Ethics of Keeping Animals. New York: Routledge.

Flippen, Brooks. 2004. Animal Attractions: Nature on Display in American Zoos. Journal of Popular Culture 37, no. 3: 546+.

Mason P. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Volume 8 #4. http://www.multilingual-matters.net/jost/008/0333/jost0080333.pdf

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