The Contribution of Zoos Towards Wildlife Conservation

The Contribution of Zoos Towards Wildlife Conservation

Throughout history humans have made life for many species of animals difficult, and in order to compensate for it, zoos advocate animal welfare and greatly help the maintenance of this planet's biodiversity.
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Humans have caused many species of animals to go extinct, and have pushed many others to the brink of it. Luckily, in order to combat the rapid rate of animal mortality caused by coexisting with humans, zoos operate towards a mission to conserve wildlife and improve the welfare of animals worldwide.

Over the last 47 years, the wild population of vertebrates has declined by 58 percent, and sadly, it is all due to us. Humans are hard to coexist with because as our population grows, more animals lose their homes or food sources. Losing needed sources and lacking places to live in is causing a tremendous shock in the wildlife population today. Habitat loss is the leading reason behind the alarmingly rapid decline of animal populations, and accounts for an 80 percent loss in biodiversity.

Even with the strongest efforts, controlling the rate of which humans destroy animals’ habitats is near to impossible due to the fast increase of the human population, consumerism, and recklessness. However, if we are unable to stop habitats from being destroyed, the least we can do is build them for animals to safely live in.

That is where zoos come in. Many people give zoos a bad name and wrongfully try to belittle their accomplishments. With wildlife being killed off and habitats vanishing, zoos provide healthy and stable shelter for animals. Animals in zoos have access to the adequate amounts of food that they need in order to be healthy, and live under constant veterinarian care, improving their welfare while elongating their lifespans. Conservation organizations can also thank zoos for helping them raise money and fund them, for a significant portion of the revenue gained by admissions and other purchases in zoos goes towards their projects.

Unfortunately, habitat loss is not the only peril that animals face today. There has been a cumulative death of over 73,000 elephants in Tanzania and Mozambique in the last five years due to poaching. While regulations, government interference, and efforts from conservation organizations are helping control the growth of poaching, they are not working fast enough.

The number of rhinos poached has only started decreasing since 2014, and resulted in the extinction of the Western black rhino. Man caused the demise of the Northern white rhinos, but later made it possible to raise their population size from almost extinct to near-threatened. Unfortunately, Northern white rhinos are extinct in the wild, but because of human care and breeding programs, there is still hope for repopulation.

One of the most significant contributions to animal conservation brought by zoos is through breeding programs, which directly increases the population of that given specie. The incapability of animals to breed contributes to the constant diminishing populations of wildlife. Under poor living conditions, the mortality rate of animals surpasses the birth rate, creating a negative pointing slope for its population. Also, one must keep in mind that childbirth always has its complications.

Due to the small pelvic size of squirrel monkeys, the offspring’s head is very large compared to the birth canal diameter, yielding a 34% mortality rate of newborns at birth. Hyenas also face immense danger during the childbirth process due to giving birth to a relatively large matured cub through an extremely narrow organ resembling the male’s reproductive organ. As a result of this excruciating process, about 70% of hyena firstborn cubs and 18% of first-time mothers die during childbirth.

Aside from the dangerous process, hyenas’ gestation lasts about 120 days, which is very long for predators, leaving them vulnerable to other predators. Under zoological care, expecting mothers are vigorously watched and taken care of, significantly decreasing the possibility of pregnancy-related health complications. Childbirth in zoological facilities are monitored and controlled by veterinarians and zookeepers, which protects both the mother and offspring, ensuring that both will survive and live on to further increase that specie’s population.

Zoos hold animals that have been seriously injured or have fled areas with danger from humans, and are responsible for much of the animals that are still left existing. If it was not for zoos, we could expect to have lost many more species of animals. One should not look at zoos as prisons, but instead, as facilities that provide as natural as possible homes for needing animals. AZA credited zoos give animals ethical and interactive habitats while scattering their foods in order to encourage natural behaviors such as browsing, scavenging, and foraging.

While the animals are living a healthy and safe life, the public is able to admire the majestic organisms and learn about them. Every zoo's goal is to inspire the people into somehow joining the effort, and share the appreciation that we humans should all have for animals. By educating the public and raising awareness about urgent conservation statuses, zoos increase the number of people working towards a world where animals can live with great welfare and prosper in the wild without disturbances from humans.

Cover Image Credit: San Diego Zoo

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Your Plastic Trash Is Turning Our Oceans' Marine Life Into Marine Death

We destroy life and pollute the oceans and skies, yet we have the audacity to call ourselves superior beings.

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More than one million marine animals die each year due to the overuse of plastic materials.

If you take a walk along the beach or swim in the ocean, you are bound to see some sort of trash. This trash does no good to those animals who are in the oceans. If we are doing something and we step on a piece of trash, we are able to pull it off, but the marine life cannot. The trash sticks with them, and sometimes it might come off.

We are killing the wildlife with the plastic and the trash.

Throughout the past few years, the marine life population has been declining. The ocean is a vital part of our food chain, feeding billions of people around the globe, and helps keep us alive. The world over fishes in the oceans, and empties trash into our oceans.

If you become aware of your daily living, plastic is used for everything. Plastic soda bottles, plastic chip bags, plastic grocery bags, plastic wrappers, and so much more plastic. Think about all the plastic straws we use, that plastic goes right now the esophagus for the marine life animals.

The amount of plastic in this world will take millions of years to actually break down. The plastic is not broken down fast enough.

But, until then, our oceans are getting all the plastic we are using.

All these plastics look appetizing to the marine life animals — they do not know it can harm them. For example, a bag floating looks appetizing to a turtle because it looks like it is a jellyfish floating up and down.

Humans average a total of 14 billion pounds of waste into the oceans per year. This number keeps reaching its peak every single year. Researchers have shown by the year 2040 the amount of plastic in the sea will be higher than the actual sum of marine life.

It is a proven fact that fish are not growing because they mistakenly eat the plastic more than their regular food. The waste usually comes from coastal areas, but some make it ways through inland waterways into the ocean. The plastic gets stuck into the marine life bodies along with toxic chemicals and bacterial absorbed by the material.

Plastic rings are a big thing — the six-pack of beer, soda and/or drinks.

Those plastic non-biodegradable rings are getting stuck around the sea animals, the sea animals are eating them as well. It is known that a company in Florida called Saltwater Brewery actually created edible six-pack rings. These rings are completely 100% biodegradable. It was a big investment for the Saltwater Brewery, but they state "it was completely worth it."

It baffles me how people can let these animals digest, get tangled and die because they can't reduce plastic usage and/or not throw the plastic into the oceans. More programs should be set up to pick up beach trash and cleaning the oceans. Even though every single piece of trash won't get out of the waters. A little help can make a world of difference to the marine life.

Stop littering your trash, become aware of the amount of plastic you actually use, pick up trash off the beach if you see it there and become educated on those marine life animals.

The ocean is calling for help, and you need to be their voice.

"For the wildest things on Earth, the future must depend on the conscience of mankind" — Dr. Carr



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