Here's Why You'll Think Twice Before Your Next Zoo Visit

Here's Why You'll Think Twice Before Your Next Zoo Visit

They aren't helping the animals at all.
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The zoo: where you had your favorite childhood field trips, where your family goes on a lazy Sunday to relax, and where you go with your significant other in the winter to get a cute picture under all the lights. Am I right?

But do you really know what you are paying for when you are going to the zoo? Conservation? Education? Research? Think again.

To me, zoo's are a bittersweet place. Its amazing to see the animals up close and personal (no matter how miserable they look) and feel like its helpful towards "saving" a species as a whole, even if that means individual animals have to spend their whole lives in cages. I see the big picture, but am affected by the in-the-moment mentality.

That's the thing though--it was about seeing the animals, spending time with family, and getting a cute picture. It wasn't about educating myself on their natural habitats, researching their common behaviors and conditions, or conserve their land and their homes from all parts of the world. The zoo is a social gathering, even on field trips, and was more about making sure I got to all the exhibits to get whatever question answered on my sheet to fill out.

"A few years ago Los Angeles Zoo spent $42 million on a new, six-acre enclosure for Asian elephants...[but] soon found itself in court defending accusations that the exhibit was inhumane," (Take Part). The money going into this exquisite exhibit, to keep these animals enriched and at an attempt to feel like they are living in a "natural" environment, doesn't even meet the requirements. $42 million dollars, and it wasn't even up to standards. This wasn't working towards saving the species, or conservation, this was just a way to get more tourists to view another exhibit opening--to get enough profit to repeat the process all over again with another animals home.

That's not to say that I'm not happy that these animals have a more "wild" environment and are able to enjoy this new place with their natural behaviors, but we have to ask ourselves at what cost?

"Zoo directors admit they are failing the animals that are their raison d’être...bearing about as much resemblance to the natural world as Disneyland has to Detroit," (Take Part). The zoo's are failing. The conservation, education, and research from our zoo's aren't doing enough to help, to save, or to preserve. They are keeping their animals alive, yes, but not growing that population enough for it come back in numbers. Poaching, deforestation, and threatened wildlife numbers, are causing a severe drop in animal populations. This extinction rate is 1,000 times more than it has ever been before. The zoo is a last resort in saving these animals.

Zoo's can and do raise money, educate, and are involved in research--just not as much as we could hope for. "Every year, 180 million people come through their doors—more people than attend every NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB game combined—with their wallets already open," (Take Part). They have the money coming in to make a bigger difference than only 1% of the budget going to conservation. Yes, thats right: 1-stinking-percent! When you go to a zoo--you're paying for food vendors and Dippin' Dots, a ride on the carousel, and basically everything else more so than animal conservation!

"A boost to 10 percent would send $800 million a year to wildlife, which according to the Wildilfe Conservation Network and Jane Goodall Institute currently receives 0.1 percent of international philanthropy. (Pets get more.)," (Take Part). Now, I understand people love their pets as family, but you're paying to go to the zoo, and still spending more on your pet that day putting no money towards it. This is not animal conservation--this is not giving back to those species in the wild, this is not taking on the responsibility of doing more than reproducing populations, and this is not introducing species back into the wild.

And why isn't that happening? The animals who are introduced into the wild, after their populations in the zoo have grown, aren't acting "natural". They are behaving as they did in the zoo-used to people surrounding their everyday life, used to being given food at certain time, and used to showing off to tourists. Sure, they are back in the wild, but they aren't wild.

If you really want to conserve wildlife, go their natural homes and join a program to stop poaching, end hunting, and halt deforestation. You have to go to the animals, in their natural habitat, to truly understand the full devastation that is occurring in the real world, instead of standing outside a pane of glass looking in. Bringing animals into captivity shouldn't be considered conservation--protecting their habitat should be. Paying to maintain captive animals habitats shouldn't be considered conservation--donating money to stop poachers should be. Watching animals behind a ten foot fence shouldn't be considered conservation--planting trees to decrease the rate of deforestation should be.

Think about what you are paying for when you walk into a zoo--conservation, education, research? Yes, 1% of your money going towards your family outing, or your cute Instagram picture with your boyfriend, or for your school field trip, 1% will go towards conservation. But thats all--1%.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=zoos&safe=strict&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiG8f3Zq_vPAhUK24MKHeDODqIQ_AUICigD&biw=1279&bih=646#safe=strict&tbm=isch&q=tigers&imgrc=sszfLtwak50jZM%3A

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Every Question You Have About The Stanley Cup Playoffs, Answered

The Stanley Cup is upon us and there are a few things you should know if you're tuning in for the first time.

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April is such a crazy time this year in the entertainment arena. With "March Madness" coming to a close, the Stanly Cup Playoffs beginning April 9th, "Game of Thrones" premiering its final season on Sunday, April 14th and "Avengers: End Game" premiering Friday, April 26, things are going to be insane all month long.

To kick things off, hockey fans everywhere are preparing for the Stanley Cup. Here are a few tips if you have no idea what the Stanley Cup is to make you look like you know exactly what you are talking about (even if you don't know anything about hockey in the first place).

1. What even is hockey, anyways?

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Hockey is a sport that is played against two teams on the ice. The players wear skates, use ice hockey sticks and play with a rubber disc called a puck. The objective of the game is to score on the opponent's goal. The game itself can be very fast paced, physical and it's very popular in the United States, Canada, Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.

2. Why do people care about the NHL?

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It is widely thought that the NHL (in North America) is the most admired hockey league in the world. As of right now, there are currently 31 teams in the NHL both from the U.S. and Canada.

3. What is the Stanley Cup?

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The Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley of Preston who was the 1892 Governor General of Canada. The shiny silver cup was purchased by him in London and he then donated it to award the top amateur hockey club located in Canada. The first winner of the Stanley Cup in 1893, was the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (or MAAA). The cup has an escort (currently Philip Pritchard), who always accompanies it. The poor cup has seen its fair share of horror, including being urinated in by the New York Rangers.

4. So how do the Stanley Cup Playoffs work?

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Well, the Stanley Cup Playoffs usually begin the first few weeks of April and can go into the first week of June (depending on how fast each team makes it thru the four rounds of best-of-seven series.) There are eight teams from each of the two conferences and are in the tournament depending on how well they did during the regular season. Whoever wins the cup gets the claim to the trophy for the year.

5. What happens if a team wins?

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It's a really big deal to win the Stanley Cup. Basically, it's just a ton of bragging rights and being able to say that your team worked really hard to get there. Imagine working so hard to get that big promotion at work and you get it. It's a wonderful feeling but if you don't get it, well there can be some tears (and let me tell you it can be very sad watching hockey players cry.)

6. Who were last year's Stanley Cup winners?

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The defending champs, the Washington Capitals, are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. Winning for the first time in franchise history, the Capitals hope to make a Stanley Cup Final appearance and win again. Since I was six years old, I have been the biggest Capitals fan so being able to be in Washington D.C. and watch them win was one of the best moments in my life (I am hoping for a repeat... but this year there are some really awesome teams.)

7. Who is predicted to win?

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Coming in hot with the most wins for the regular season and the team I have been calling to win since their loss to the Washinton Capitals during the third round of the playoffs last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning led by Steven Stamkos are the big favorites to win this year. Both the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights are close contenders. I'm calling it now, though. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.

8. Are there any underdogs?

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Out of all the teams (besides the Washington Capitals of course), I was really hoping to see the Carolina Hurricanes go to the playoffs. This team, who have become famous this year for their post-game celebrations, have really stepped it up. The last time this team made a playoff run was in 2009. It's really great to see a team who isn't normally in the playoffs competing. Although I can't wish them luck as they are playing against the Capitals in the first round, I hope to see them play next year.

9. So who should I talk about to make it sound like I actually watch hockey?

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Whenever I talk about hockey, people seem to like to quiz me on players to see if I really know hockey. A few players you should mention to people if they bring the Stanley Cup are as follows. Right Winger on the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nikita Kucherov, is on fire this season with 87 assists. I hate to be basic but Alex Ovechkin and the reason for him is that he is sitting at 51 goals, making this his eighth season to obtain 50+ goals a season.

Brad Marchand is a huge fighter, but the Boston Bruins would be lost without him. If you really want to piss a New York Islanders fan off, you just need to mention John Tavares name. Lastly, Brent Burns is one of the best defensemen and plays for the San Jose Sharks. He's got some pretty great locks of hair and a big toothy smile but he can play hockey like no other. Of course, there are so many other talented great players this playoff run, but these are just a few you could mention.

10.  I heard there are a lot of fights in hockey ... do you think I'll see one?

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Yes, fights happen in hockey all the time but especially during the playoffs. Tensions are high, but so are penalties. Tensions are especially high when a team is playing game four and if they don't win they are done. I have seen some pretty nasty fights break out during the playoffs and it's not pretty especially when it involves fans. Be prepared to see some fights break out and would not be surprised to see if Tom Wilson gets suspended again as he does every year (for no good reason) during the playoffs.

11. Why does the Stanley Cup Playoffs affect me?

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs are way more fun than a lot of other sports playoffs in my opinion. I saw this first-hand when the Washington Capitals won and how the whole city of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland came together (yes we see you bandwagon fans). It's a sport that's fast, exciting and brings people together.

May the best team win.

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