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Fight for Survival

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Many animals are facing extinction, which threatens the diversity of animal life on earth. Gorillas, eagles, rhinoceroses, water buffalo, elephants and tigers are just a few of the species across the globe whose existence is threatened. To ensure that these creatures are protected and survive in the future, many environmentalists advocate that they should be in zoos or animal reserves. Zoos keep animals in exhibits where visitors can learn about them 1. (therefore/ whereas) reserves allow animals to roam freely in vast expanses of land that better simulate their natural living conditions. Both zoos and reserves create habitats where animals can reproduce and thus protect their species from extinction, 2. (but/unless) both have liabilities as well.

  1. (Although/ Because) zoos tend to the physical needs of the animals in their care, the animals become tamer than they were in the wild. For instance, rather than killing their prey themselves, animals are fed by zookeepers. Perhaps the biggest liability of zoos is that they take animals out of their natural habitat and expose them to new climates and conditions, which can present unforeseen dangers and diminish the animals’’ ability to fend for themselves. Ewen and his colleagues (2012) cite several dangers of long-term captivity for animals, including inbreeding adaptation to captivity, and exposure to non-native parasites. No matter how hard zoos attempt to simulate natural living conditions of animals, some do not succeed. 4. (By chance/ For example), Kemmerer (2010) documents that “sixty percent of zoo- kept elephants surer from painful and dangerous foot ailments caused by standing on unnatural surfaces” (p.38). 5. (However/ While) trying to protect animals, some zoos harm them instead due to the conditions of the animals’ confinement.

Animal reserves, 6. (on one hand/ on the other hand), better mimic the conditions of the wild. Animals must hunt and kill their own prey, and the conservationists do not interact with the animals frequently. 7. (Thus/ Whereas), the animals in reserves do not become accustomed to or dependent on humans. 8. (Although / In fact), most animal reserves are located within the same geographic region as the indigenous animals. 9. (As a result/ As a matter of fact), the animals do not need to adjust to a new climate, nor do they encounter alien parasites or predators they cannot defend themselves against.

  1. (However/While) reserves may appear to provide a more hospitable environment for animals than zoos for these reasons, zoos better protect animals from their principal, most dangerous predator: humans. Because reserves are so much larger zoos, it is quite difficult to police their borders; 11 (also/ consequently), poachers can break into animal reserves and kill the very animals that the reserves are intended to protect. Such a situation occurs frequently when poachers kill rhinoceroses and elephants to steal and sell their horns and tusks on the black market. 12. (Consequently/ In addition), some animals reserves act as large- scale zoos for tourists, even though these environments are supposedly set aside to protect and preserve animals.

Both zoos and reserves attempt to ensure that animals will survive for future generations, but, whether intentionally or not, both habitats potentially harm the animals they seek to protect. To ensure that future generations of animals will escape extinction, the best answer might be neither zoos nor animal reserves but simply for humans for leave animals alone in their natural habitat. At the very least, humans must find an ethical and humane way to preserve all species with which we share the planet.


Ewen, J., Armstrong, D., Parker, K., & Seddon, P. (2012). Reintroduction biology: Integrating

science and management. Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell.

Kemmerer, L. (2010). Nooz: Ending zoo exploitation. In R. Acampoa (Ed.),

Metamorphoses of the zoo (pp. 37-56). Lanham, MD: Lexington.

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