With the recent death of the Cincinnati zoo’s gorilla, Harambe, the question must be posed: Do zoos, as they exist in their current state, provide the best possible interaction between humans and wild animals?
Because of the most recent interaction, my answer is no. I’m a first year animal science major studying to become a veterinarian, and I’ve recently conducted research into the ethics of zoos. I believe zoos that are wildlife parks, in which the humans are behind bars rather than the animals, is the best approach to have safer interactions between humans and wild animals. These types of zoos help alleviate stress an animal experiences in captivity by providing a closer resemblance to the animal’s natural environment and allow for tighter security on the humans visiting the animals so accidents like the one involving Harambe are greatly reduced.
For zoos to become better than they are now, in terms of animal treatment, they need to consider switching over to the wildlife park setting and management. Zoos need to let the idea of animals being the ones behind bars be a thing of the past.
Kait Law, San Luis Obispo