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A zoological garden, zoological park, or zoo is an institution where mainly wild and exotic animals are restricted within enclosures, bred and displayed to the public. The term zoological garden refers to the biological discipline zoology, which derives from Greek Ζωο ("animal"), and λογος ("study"). The term was first used in 1828 for the London Zoological Gardens, soon shortened by the Londoners to the abbreviation “zoo”.

Most large cities in the world have zoos. Major zoos are important tourist attractions. More than 135 million people visit zoos in the United States and Canada every year, but most zoos operate at a loss and must find ways to cut costs. Many non-profit zoos, particularly institutions operating in conservation biology, education, and biological research, depend on public funding.


[edit] Aims

Most of today’s non-profit and serious zoological gardens display wild animals, not just for the amusement and the entertainment of their visitors, but primarily for conservation of endangered species, for education and biological research. The concern of these institutions is to help save the diversity of life on Earth through applied conservation activities such as breeding endangered species.<ref>Colin Tudge: Last Animals in the Zoo: How Mass Extinction Can Be Stopped, London 1991. ISBN 1-55963-157-0</ref> <ref> http://www.biaza.org.uk/resources/library/images/MANIFESTO.pdf John Regan Associates: Manifesto for Zoos, 2004 </ref>

In 1993 the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), formerly known as the International Union of the Directors of Zoological Gardens, produced its first conservation strategy. In November 2004 WAZA adopted a new strategy that sets out the aims and mission of zoological gardens of the twenty-first century.<ref>http://www.waza.org/conservation/wzacs.php The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy</ref>

The breeding of endangered species is coordinated by cooperative breeding programmes containing international studbooks and coordinators, who evaluate the roles of individual animals and institutions from a global or regional perspective. There are regional programmes for the conservation of endangered species:

[edit] History

Image:Seals@melb zoo.jpg
Sea lions at the Melbourne Zoo

The predecessor of the zoological garden is the menagerie that has a long history from the Middle Ages to modern times. The oldest existing zoo, the Vienna Zoo in Austria, evolved from such an aristocratic menagerie founded in 1752 by the Habsburg monarchy.

The first zoo founded primarily for scientific and educational reasons was the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris (1794). The founders and members of the Zoological Society of London adopted the idea of the early Paris zoo when they established London Zoo in 1828.

The success of London Zoo set off a wave of further zoo establishments across the world. The first zoological garden established in Australia was Melbourne Zoo in 1860. In the same year the first zoo of the United States opened to the public in New York City (Central Park Zoo), although earlier, in 1859, the Philadelphia Zoological Society had made an effort to establish a zoological park, but delayed due to the American Civil War.

When ecology emerged as a matter of public interest through the 1970s, a few zoos began to consider making conservation their central role, with Gerald Durrell of the Jersey Zoo, George Rabb of Brookfield Zoo, and William Conway of the Bronx Zoo (Wildlife Conservation Society) leading the discussion. Since then, zoo professionals became increasingly aware of the need to engage themselves in conservation programmes and the American Zoo Association soon asserted that conservation had become its highest priority. <ref>Vernon N. Kisling (ed.): Zoo and Aquarium History, Boca Raton 2001. ISBN 0-8493-2100-X</ref> <ref>R. J. Hoage, William A. Deiss (ed.): New Worlds, New Animals, Washington 1996. ISBN 0-8018-5110-6</ref> <ref>Elizabeth Hanson: Animal Attractions, Princeton 2002. ISBN 0-691-05992-6</ref> <ref>David Hancocks: A Different Nature, Berkeley 2001. ISBN 0-520-21879-5</ref>

[edit] Appearance

Free monkey's islands at the São Paulo Zoo

Most modern zoos keep animals in enclosures that attempt to replicate their natural habitats. Many zoos now have special buildings for nocturnal animals, with dim lighting during the day, so the animals will be active when visitors are there, and bright lights at night to ensure that they sleep. Special climate conditions are created for animals living in radical environments, such as penguins. Special enclosures for birds, insects, fishes and other aquatic life forms have also been developed.

A petting zoo (also called children's farms or children's zoos) features a combination of domestic animals and some wild species that are docile enough to touch and feed. Petting zoos are popular with small children. To ensure the animals' health, the food is supplied by the zoo, either from vending machines or a kiosk nearby. In addition to independent petting zoos, many general zoos contain one.

Many zoos have walk-through exhibits, where visitors enter enclosures of non-aggressive species, like lemurs, marmosets, birds, lizards, turtles etc. Visitors are normally asked to keep to paths, and animals are not tame.

[edit] Criticism of Zoos

During the New Imperialism period, indigenous people were sometimes displayed in cages along with animals in an attempt to illustrate and demonstrate scientific racism thesis. In 1906, socialite and amateur anthropologist Madison Grant, head of the New York Zoological Society, had Congolese pygmy Ota Benga put on display at the Bronx Zoo in New York City alongside the apes and others, as an example of the "missing link" between orangutan and white man. This phenomenon has been designated as "human zoos", and lasted until after World War I. Thus, human beings were displayed in cages during the 1931 Parisian Colonial Exhibition and a "Congolese village" displayed at Brussels' World Fair in 1958.<ref>http://www.africultures.com/anglais/articles_anglais/43blanchard.htm]</ref>

More recently, most animal rights activists disapprove of zoos as a matter of principle, because they interpret zoos as human domination over equal creatures and criticize their educational value as being superficial and useless.

Animal welfare groups however do not fundamentally reject the existence of zoological gardens, but they point to the often unnatural and controversial conditions of keeping animals in human captivity, particularly in small cages without any environmental enrichment. Indeed, some zoos are keeping their animals under unacceptable conditions, especially those who are primarily commercially oriented and those who suffer from lack of money. Stereotypical behavioral patterns such as pacing, rocking and swaying indicate suffering of animals in unsuitable enclosures. For example, elephants often sway continuously from side to side or rock back and forth.

The majority of the large non-profit and serious institutions with conservationist, educational as well as scientific orientation, are working to improve their animal enclosures, although it remains difficult to create acceptable and sizable artificial environments according to animal welfare for some special species (for example, dolphins and other whales). <ref>Stephen St C. Bostock: Zoos and Animal Rights, London 1993. ISBN 0-415-05057-X </ref> <ref>Bryan G. Norton, Michael Hutchins, Elizabeth F. Stevens, Terry L. Maple (ed.): Ethics on the Ark. Zoos, Animal Welfare, and Wildlife Conservation, Washington, DC 1995. ISBN 1-56098-515-1</ref> <ref>Randy Malmud: Reading Zoos. Representations of Animals and Captivity, New York 1998. ISBN 0-8147-5602-6</ref>

[edit] Special Zoos and Related Institutions

Contrary to the classical zoological garden that displays the entire world fauna, some zoos concentrate on animals of certain geographical regions, on animals of the water or attempt to exhibit their animals in a different way. Some of these institutions, mainly those who evolved from former amusement parks, connect entertainment elements with exhibiting live animals.

[edit] Wild Animal Parks

Wild animal parks are larger than the classical zoo. The first of this new kind of animal park was Whipsnade Wild Animal Park opened in 1931 in Bedfordshire, England. This park owned by the Zoological Society of London covers 600 acres (2.4 km²) and is still one of Europe's largest wildlife conservation parks where animals are kept within sizeable enclosures. Since the early 1970s a 1,800-acre parcel (7 km²) in the Pasqual Valley near San Diego also accommodates a remarkable new zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park that is run by the Zoological Society of San Diego. Another zoo comparable to these wild animal parks is the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Melbourne, Australia, focusing on displaying animals living in a wide open savanna. This 500-acre zoo is managed by the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board which also manages Melbourne Zoo.

[edit] Public Aquaria

The first public aquarium was opened in London Zoo in 1853. This was followed by the opening of a number of public aquaria from 1853 to 1899 in Europe (for example, Paris 1859, Hamburg 1864, 1868, Berlin 1869, Brighton 1872) and the United States (Boston 1859, Washington 1873, San Francisco 1894, New York 1896). In 2005 the non-profit Georgia Aquarium with more than 8 million US gallons (30,000 m³; 30,000,000 liters) of marine and fresh water, and more than 100,000 animals of 500 different species opened in Atlanta, Georgia. The aquarium's notable specimens include whale sharks and beluga whales.

[edit] Animal Theme Parks

An animal theme park is a combination of an amusement park and a zoo, mainly for entertaining and commercial purposes. Very popular, especially in the United States, are marine mammal parks such as Sea World. This kind of animal theme park is a more elaborate dolphinarium keeping further whale species and containing additional entertainment attractions. Another new kind of animal theme park opened in 1998 - Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. This commercial park established by the Walt Disney Company is similar to wild animal parks according to size (550 acres, 2 km²), but differs in intention and appearance since it contains far more entertainment and amusement elements than the classical zoo.

[edit] References


[edit] See also

Look up Zoo in
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[edit] External links

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List of zoos | List of zoo associations | Zoological Garden | Menagerie | Aquarium | Tourist attraction | Wildlife Conservation | Endangered species 


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