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National Zoo and Aquarium Month is in June! Zoos and aquariums have their issues, but when all is said and done, they do serve some important purposes. A local vet lists some of them below.
California Condor is one of the most striking success stories here. These birds came perilously close to extinction: by 1985, there were only nine left in the wild. A large recovery effort was launched, with several participating zoos and animal protection agencies. They hand raised and bred young condors, which were then released into the wild. Today, there are now more than 400 wild condors.
Zoos also play a crucial role in conservation efforts. There are now over 1,300 species listed as endangered, with more on the list as threatened. Because of these efforts, zoo-goers can see these animals in the flesh. That can really do a lot in terms of raising awareness and getting people onboard with promoting not only conservation, but also good animal welfare.
Zoos and aquariums also often rehabilitate injured animals, and then release them into the wild. They usually work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in this area.
One of the best things about zoos is their work at raising awareness, not only about the animals themselves, but also about the many issues wild animals face. Pollution, loss of habitat, climate change, and invasive species can all have devastating impacts on delicate ecosystems and the wildlife they support.
Last but certainly not least, zoos and aquariums offer a special and rare opportunity to see and also interact with animals you would rarely, if ever, encounter in the wild. This can be really beneficial for children. Taking your little tikes to the zoo is also a great time to talk to them about our animal companions, and why it’s important to be kind to them.
As with any other industries, zoos vary widely in terms of their aims and ethics. There are some genuinely wonderful ones out there, which have a strong commitment to their residents. Unfortunately, there are also some that are more interested in profit than protection. Your best bet is to choose the ones that have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
As your animal clinic, we’re here to help. Call us anytime!