Zoos : The Saviour of Endangered Species, or Forced Imprisonment for Profit?
Zoos : The Saviour of Endangered Species, or Forced Imprisonment for Profit?<br />Hope Turner - 74530<br />26/01/2011<br />Word Count: 3035<br />Contents TOC o "1-3" h z u Abstract PAGEREF _Toc285612776 h 3Introduction PAGEREF _Toc285612777 h 3A History of Zoos PAGEREF _Toc285612778 h 4Initial Zoo Animal Sourcing PAGEREF _Toc285612779 h 6Current Zoo Animal Sourcing PAGEREF _Toc285612780 h 8Physical and Mental Health of Zoo Animals and other costs PAGEREF _Toc285612781 h 9Contributions to Conservation PAGEREF _Toc285612782 h 11A Frozen Future PAGEREF _Toc285612783 h 15Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc285612784 h 16Appendix 1 PAGEREF _Toc285612785 h 18References PAGEREF _Toc285612787 h 20<br />Abstract<br />Research into zoo claims regarding their role in conservation, and their actual contributions to the preservation of endangered species. Zoos historically have in fact been major contributors to the extinction process, which in turn has raised the profiles of their exclusive exhibits and thus accrued greater profits. Of over 10,000 zoos worldwide, only 1,000 are involved in ex-situ breeding programs (Laidlaw, 2001), and of those the numbers of captive bred animals released into the wild, which thrive there, are negligible; concluding that whilst a small number of zoos are striving forward, the vast majority of zoos are not breeding self-sustaining populations of endangered species and have no valid claims on conservation status.<br />Introduction<br />Volunteering at Twycross Zoo gave a new insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Twycross began as Molly Badhams’ personal collection of exotic pets, escalating to zoo status through demands of the public and the necessity to subsidise costs rather than through any motivation for conservation, as the animals in the collection appeared abundant in the wild at the time, due to the numbers of animals available on the market (Badham et al. 2000).<br />In 2002 an amendment was made to the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 (Crown, 2002) and also under the EC Zoos Directive 2002 (EC Directive 1999/22/EC), implemented a legal undertaking for all British zoos to demonstrate active involvement in conservation (Hosey et al. 2009) however this “does not specifically require zoos to participate in the captive breeding and reintroduction of endangered species” (Rees, 2005).<br />This is an investigation into zoos as a whole, and their contribution or lack thereof towards conservation.<br />A History of Zoos<br />Before zoos the rich and powerful had menageries (Croke, 1997), personal collections of exotic pets, much in the same way as Molly Badham did (Badham et al. 2000); the first recorded animal collecting expedition dates back to 1490 B.C. in ancient Egypt (Croke, 1997). <br />In 1826 Sir. Stamford Raffles founded the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) see Image 1 (Croke, 1997: Zoological Society of London, N.D.), and the concept of zoos was born. London Zoos’ success, strengthened by a visit from Queen Victoria in 1842 and its’ opening to the public in 1847 sparked a “zoo boom”, and other European cities swiftly followed suit. The craze of exhibiting creatures that were out of the ordinary even ran to humans, when in 1906 New York Zoological Society exhibited a 23 year old African Pygmy named Ota Benga see Image 2, who later committed suicide (Croke, 1997).<br />Image 1 (Unknown, 1842)<br />Image 2(Unknown, 1906)<br />However, exhibit housing was bleak and cramped, mainly concrete floors and bars see Image 3. Until 1902 no lion, tiger, parrot or monkey at London zoo had fresh air, and the fact that “more animals died at most zoos than were born there” was usually blamed on a “fatal draft”. In 1900, the famous exotic animal collector, Carl Hagenbeck opened the first “zoo without bars”, including naturalistic enclosures, igniting other zoos to alter their layouts, both for aesthetic and animal welfare reasons (Croke, 1997).<br />Image 3 (Unknown, 1902)<br />Initial Zoo Animal Sourcing<br />Carl Hagenbeck was known to have said, when referring to elephants, that “young specimens cannot as a rule be secured without first killing the old ones” and in relation to other animals that “a large number of captives die soon after they have been made prisoners, and scarcely half of them arrive safely in Europe” (Croke, 1997). <br />Following the success of zoos, traveling zoos and circuses became popular, and the demand for exotic animals for both exhibition and as pets skyrocketed. However, without sufficient knowledge of how to take care of them, this not only lead to the deaths of these creatures, but thousands of their relatives in order to obtain them. Another famous animal supplier, Frank Buck brought back 10,000 mammals and 100,000 birds to America, if that was the half that survived transportation the numbers killed in the wild is incalculable. A dealer named Lecomte lead an expedition in 1868, initiating his journey home with 84 animals, but docking in London with only 8. Many wild caught exhibits died within days of arrival at a zoo, so much so that when a gorilla arrived on site all people interested were advised to see it immediately, as by 1911 the only gorilla to reach America alive died within 5 days of arrival. It must be noted that these deaths were due to the complete lack of knowledge of how to care for the animals, in addition to completely unsuitable enclosures (Croke, 1997), as a gorillas’ diet, was:<br />Breakfast-2 sausages and a pint of beer<br />Lunch-Cheese sandwiches<br />Dinner-Boiled potatoes, mutton and more beer (Blunt, 1835)<br />as compared to a modern day gorilla diet of mainly fruit and vegetables (Appendix 1), of course back then medicine was in early stages and therefore it is unlikely that the collectors would have known of the risk of human diseases to great apes either.<br />Animal finding expeditions were leaving a path of destruction through previously untouched Asian forests, South American jungles and African savannahs (Croke, 1997). <br />Current Zoo Animal Sourcing<br />Importation of zoo animals falls under a number of different Acts, the Endangered Species (Import & Export) Act 1981, the Wild Animals (Restriction on Importation, etc.) Act 1990 and the Destructive Imported Animals Act 1963, licenses for which can be obtained via the Department of Environment Food and Agriculture (Crown, 2011).<br />79% of all UK public aquaria animals and over 70% of EU zoo elephants are wild caught (Captive Animals’ Protection Society, N.D.). Approximately 35,000,000 “fish and other aquatic creatures” enter the UK via Heathrow each year (City of London, N.D.). <br />Wild Dolphins are herded into a cove in Taiji, Japan, the ‘perfect specimens’ are sold to aquariums & zoos for $100,000, whilst the rest of the pod are slaughtered for meat see Image 3. On 15th February 2011 161 dolphins were taken from the cove into captivity, 755 were killed (Katsinis, 2011), current dolphin slaughter numbers in Japan are estimated at 23,000 per year. Dolphin herding at Taiji runs almost daily from September to March (Psihoyos, 2009), if the figures from 15th February are average, that means an estimate 5867 dolphins are taken into captivity from the cove each year; showing very clearly that dolphins do not survive in captivity and are not being bred for conservation. <br />Image 3 (Psihoyos, 2009)<br />Whilst the majority of zoo animals are now captive bred, a Zoo Collection Plan in order to maintain genetic diversity, must include “fresh blood”, bearing in mind a general lack in reproduction in many captive animals, which demands further capture of wild species. Much of the capture procedure of these creatures is humanely done with tranquilizer darts, however even in these scenarios, as opposed to those shown in Image 3, wild born animals are still ripped from their natural habitats and family.<br />Physical and Mental Health of Zoo Animals and other costs<br />Willie B was a wild born gorilla, but spent 27 years in a concrete box with metal bars on display in Atlanta, and was described by Terry Maple, the zoo director, as the “loneliest gorilla in the world” (Croke, 1997); since then perceptions have changed and “cages are now seen by visitors as unacceptable” (Ironmonger, 1992).<br />Ric O’Barry explains that “captive dolphins get ulcers” due to stress, dolphins are very sensitive to noise and can get so stressed by even the noise pollution from filters in their tank, that they will consciously commit suicide by refusing to take another breath (Psihoyos, 2009). A credit to the UK’s view of animal welfare, is the fact that due to an amendment to the Zoo Licensing Act (1981) in 1990, enforcing strict standards with regard to pool size, feeding, water quality and handling, all pre-existing dolphinaria were closed, and there are currently no captive dolphins in the UK.<br />In a Bristol University report only 20% of UK elephants had a normal gait, 75% were overweight, and 54% showed stereotypical behaviour, concluding there was a welfare concern for every UK housed elephant (Harris et al. 2008). The median longevity of African Elephants in zoos is 16.9 years, and in the wild is 56 years (Clubb et al. 2008). Elephant fecundity is low with captive elephant numbers declining at a rate of 10% per year (Clubb et al. 2009). <br />It costs one hundred times more to maintain a group of elephants in captivity than to protect enough space for a similar group and their entire ecosystem in the wild (Born Free Foundation/WSPA, 1994) and if their reproductive capacity in captivity is negligible then their captivity in zoos cannot be considered as a contribution to their conservation, in fact “zoos are not able to maintain their elephant populations without importing new, wild-caught animals" (Morell, 2008).<br />There are increased health risks from not being on completely natural diets (Clauss et al. 2008: Schwarm et al. 2006: Crossley & del Mar Miguelez, 2001), including reduced oocyte production (Parthasarathy & Palli, 2011); or in natural settings (Videan et al. 2007: Rees, 2004), as well as increased mental health issues raised by having any natural behaviours allowed by their captivity, disturbed by visitors (Birke, 2002). <br />Due to space restrictions and fight risk, most animals are un-able to be kept in natural sized groups, this reduces sperm production in primates (Moller, 1988) and often produces “a complete cessation of reproduction” (Dehnhard, 2011). Obviously this combination of reduced oocyte & sperm production, as well as the general lack of reproduction in captive animals as a whole, is completely counterproductive to the ex-situ breeding of sustainable populations, although conservation is generally a zoos justification for holding wild animals captive (Lindburg, 2000).<br />According to Tom Regan, when taking into account the rights of the individual animal, zoos are not morally defensible (Norton et al. 1995), nor does it seem that they are all quite what they claim with regards to species survival.<br />Contributions to Conservation<br />The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) collates the breeding programs of its’ members in association with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), their main aim is to promote improvement of welfare and ex-situ conservation, their website states their role includes “to re-introduce and support to wild populations (if applicable..” (BIAZA, 2005). <br />In 2005 only 17.1% of animals in BIAZA zoos were in recognised conservation breeding programmes (BIAZA, 2006). An investigation by the Born Free Foundation revealed that 91.1% of threatened mammals and 95% of threatened birds species are not represented in the Consortium of Charitable Zoos (CCZ) “the most progressive zoos in the country” (Born Free Foundation, 2007). Another report found that “95% or more of the worldwide zoo industry does not participate in, or make any effort to participate in, recognized captive propagation and reintroduction initiatives” (Laidlaw, 2001). <br />These statistics are born out of the fact that zoos source animals that will attract the most visitors (Moss & Esson, 2010), however, whilst this increases revenue for the zoo, it does not necessarily contribute to conservational breeding e.g. Philadelphia Zoos’ White Lion exhibit, brings in over $1 million a year, but their breeding pair are brother and sister, whose father is also their grand & great grand-father (Croke, 1997), this inbreeding for profit also seen in white tigers, sold to entertainment acts by other zoos has no role in conservation. <br />The effects of human choice of selectively breeding cannot be underestimated, as whilst it may be based on pedigrees and phenotypes of the potential mates it is not based, as it would be in the wild, due to natural selection, on the genotypes (Mays & Hill, 2004).<br />The release of ex-situ captive bred felids, has not as yet been successful, only 50% of released animals were capable of hunting in order to support themselves, and all were killed or died. “On average only one in three captive-born carnivores survives in the wild” (Jule et al. 2008). In comparison in-situ breed, rescue and release programs have increasing success rates (Hunter & Rabinowitz, 2009: Coonan et al. 2010). <br />The release of 14 captive bred Golden Lion Tamarins in 1984 resulted in the removal or death of 11 (79%) of the animals (Stolinski et al. 1997), leading to an improved training program and a more successful reintroduction in 1995 (Hosey et al. 2009).<br />The oft-quoted reintroduction of the Arabian Oryx, failed when poaching resulted in the necessity to re-capture those left in order to continue to perpetuate the species; and the capture of all Californian Condors on the brink of extinction in 1986 has fared little better due to the mortality rates of released birds (Hosey et al. 2009). If the animals survive re-introduction, after careful planning and much training, there is still a major risk of inbreeding, (Jameson, 2011) potentially leading to lack of fertility and further loss of genetic diversity due to the loss of the lines re-introduced.<br />Of the 194 members of the IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group (RSG), a group set up to advise on and promote “reintroduction of viable populations of animals” only 17 work in zoos (IUCN, 2007).<br />The number of zoos involved with the conservation breeding program and the space they have available for young counteracts their intensions as without re-introducing these animals to the wild, they cannot hope to perpetuate these species (Hosey et al. 2009) and often have to cull the very young they aim to breed (Moore, 2007) due to a surplus. Zoo surplus figures for America have been estimated at 80,000 animals per year (Croke, 1997). There are also significant concerns about the potential of these captive bred groups due to their lack of genetic diversity (Laike, 1999). <br />Very few zoos re-introduce, but these include The Aspinall Foundation (Aspinall Foundation, 2010) and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, 2011) who have reserves for the animals they release. <br />This being the case, zoos that don’t re-introduce, assist in reintroduction or own reserves cannot truly be considered to be perpetuating a species other than for exhibition purposes. <br />As far as financial contribution to in-situ conservation goes, “the CCZ appears to spend an estimated 4-6.7% of gross income” (Born Free Foundation, 2007), however much all may not be as it seems, for example whilst Twycross Zoo declared donations of £72,028 as amounting to around 12% of profit in 2008, this figure was after the transfer of over £3.5 million into a contingency fund, making the zoos donations closer to 1.7% of profit. Twycross Zoo’s running costs for 2008 were over £6.6 million, however the charity has no in-situ reservations, nor does it release animals into the wild (Twycross Zoo, 2009), whereas by comparison the Born Free Foundations expenditure for 2008 was £2.3 million, (Born Free Foundation, 2008) protecting “ lions, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, polar bears, wolves, dolphins, turtles, sharks and lots more” in wildlife reserves across the globe (Born Free Foundation, 2011). <br />The Zoological Society of London is extremely active in data collation, plan creation and implementation of in-situ conservation programs around the world, working with many other organisations through its sub-divisions like its’ Edge of Existence programme and 21st Century Tiger etc. (ZSL, 2010); and as its existence launched zoos worldwide, it appears to continue to strive to be first.<br />A Frozen Future<br />The Frozen Ark Project is the 21st centuries technological answer to the increase in current extinction rates (Clarke, 2009), and the lack of successful ex-situ captive breeding by zoos of self-sustaining populations of endangered species. However, whilst eminently qualified scientists spend millions in the collection ova, sperm and embryos from dying species, to store in liquid nitrogen “just in case” questions remain:-<br />How can they be bred in the future without the correct wombs, and therefore nutrients ,to carry them?<br />Where on Earth will they be released to, bearing in mind the current path of total destruction of the last vestiges of our wild planet, through population increase and global warming?<br />As John Seidensticker if the National Zoo in Washington D.C. says “it is not enough to produced genetically diverse babies; we must also produce and maintain behaviourally competent animals who can thrive in the wild” (Croke, 1997). Which begs the further question, how are they expected to survive in the wild with no others of their species to teach them the ropes? <br />Conclusion<br />Of the millions of animals in thousands of Zoos across the globe, only a handful have ever been re-introduced to the wild, and the majority of those died within a very short space of time due to lack of knowledge or ability to provide for themselves.<br />The results of much research into zoos has led to the realisation that the captivity of carnivores “should be either fundamentally improved or phased out” (Clubb & Mason, 2003), concepts of zoo animal welfare and its use in justifying zoos are insufficient (Wickins-Drazilova, 2006), behavioural husbandry often un-heard of (Melfi & Hosey, 2011), and the current breeding program for conservation of species by zoos needs to be radically altered (Leus, Traylor-Holzer, & Lacy, 2011). <br />“Captive breeding should be viewed as a last resort in species recovery” (Snyder et al. 1996) therefore perhaps the way forward is being shown by zoos like the Aspinall Foundation, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the Zoological Society of London, as well as by other groups such as the Cat Survival Trust (Cat Survival Trust, 2002), breeding in the UK and releasing into protected reserves, as well as owning and protecting reserves elsewhere, and ALERT (African Lion & Environmental Research Trust, 2011), breeding at in-situ locations and rescuing orphaned animals, with long term goals of providing life skills to enable self-sustenance, with staggered soft-releases into the wild.<br />Therefore it can be said that a small number of zoos are a mechanism for obtaining the means to preserve limited numbers of endangered species, but the vast majority run for profit, who whilst portraying themselves as conservation driven are in fact contributing to the “extinction effect” in their constant need to replace exhibits, enforcing limited longevity and redundant productivity, when not culling due to space issues, which in turn raises their visitor numbers due to the exclusivity of their stock.<br />Appendix 1<br />76200-22860000 Diet Sheet <br />7810583185Species: WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA Gorilla gorilla gorillaNumber: Two adults (Gorilla Group)BREAKFAST Bongo:1 orange, 1 apple,1 banana, 2 oz carrotsBiddy:½ apple4 pints tea each, 2 dsps Vionate every 1st dayAbove given in Bed Area. Bongo given slice bread once in Trap Area.Scattered in day area:6 oz carrots4 oz cabbage2 oz Chinese leaf2 oz cauliflower2 oz swede2 oz parsnip10:30 approxMidmorning routine - each:portion yogurt, few nuts / raisins1 item fruit1 litre squashforage scattered in day are (sunflower seeds, corn)11:45 – 12:45leaves, 1 – 2 branches (approx. March to November)EVENINGEach individual comes into separate Bed Area for their teas.Summer17:30 – 18:00All given 4 pints tea (or occasionally, Complan or squash)Winter16:40 – 17:002 items, eg. kiwi, cereal bar, ⅛ pineapple, slice breadPage 2…..00Species: WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA Gorilla gorilla gorillaNumber: Two adults (Gorilla Group)BREAKFAST Bongo:1 orange, 1 apple,1 banana, 2 oz carrotsBiddy:½ apple4 pints tea each, 2 dsps Vionate every 1st dayAbove given in Bed Area. Bongo given slice bread once in Trap Area.Scattered in day area:6 oz carrots4 oz cabbage2 oz Chinese leaf2 oz cauliflower2 oz swede2 oz parsnip10:30 approxMidmorning routine - each:portion yogurt, few nuts / raisins1 item fruit1 litre squashforage scattered in day are (sunflower seeds, corn)11:45 – 12:45leaves, 1 – 2 branches (approx. March to November)EVENINGEach individual comes into separate Bed Area for their teas.Summer17:30 – 18:00All given 4 pints tea (or occasionally, Complan or squash)Winter16:40 – 17:002 items, eg. kiwi, cereal bar, ⅛ pineapple, slice breadPage 2…..<br />-283845-561976TEABONGOBIDDYlettuce11cucumber½ ½tomato44celery ½ bunch½ bunchapple1 ½ orange1½ banana11 smallpear¼ ¼ grapessm bunchsm bunchlemon or grapefruit¼ or ⅛ ¼ or ⅛carrots10 oz4 ozcauliflower2 oz(+1 oz leaves)1 ozcabbage4 oz (outer leaves)2½ ozSpring cabbage4 oz2½ ozRed cabbage1 oz1 ozChinese leaf1 ½ oz1 ozChicory ⅛⅛Brocolli1 oz 1 oz Pepper¼ ¼ Swede1 ½ oz1 ozParsnip1 ½ oz1 ozPellets or nuts every 1st daysmall handfulsmall handfulboiled egg every 2nd day22Potatoes (occasional)1 oz1 ozFennel / Aubergine / Courgettesmall bit eachsmall bit eachIn season use up to:any type bean3 oz2 ozpeas3 oz2 ozrhubarb1 oz1 ozsprouts1 - 2 oz1 – 2 oz(Twycross Zoo, 2008)13 November 200800TEABONGOBIDDYlettuce11cucumber½ ½tomato44celery ½ bunch½ bunchapple1 ½ orange1½ banana11 smallpear¼ ¼ grapessm bunchsm bunchlemon or grapefruit¼ or ⅛ ¼ or ⅛carrots10 oz4 ozcauliflower2 oz(+1 oz leaves)1 ozcabbage4 oz (outer leaves)2½ ozSpring cabbage4 oz2½ ozRed cabbage1 oz1 ozChinese leaf1 ½ oz1 ozChicory ⅛⅛Brocolli1 oz 1 oz Pepper¼ ¼ Swede1 ½ oz1 ozParsnip1 ½ oz1 ozPellets or nuts every 1st daysmall handfulsmall handfulboiled egg every 2nd day22Potatoes (occasional)1 oz1 ozFennel / Aubergine / Courgettesmall bit eachsmall bit eachIn season use up to:any type bean3 oz2 ozpeas3 oz2 ozrhubarb1 oz1 ozsprouts1 - 2 oz1 – 2 oz(Twycross Zoo, 2008)13 November 2008<br />References<br />African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (2011) The African Lion & Environmental Research Trust. 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