What is the Educational Value of the Zoo?

By Sara Ferguson

I am a very active zoo visitor; I often go more to a zoo in a week than most people do in year. In all my zoo visits I have learned that animal behavior isnt limited to across a watery moat, steel fencing, or glass window. It goes on everyday in the crowds of visitors which come to the zoo.

There has always been an ongoing argument about the educational value of the zoo compared to the animal suffering in the cages. An argument which, of course, wont be solved here but will give you a lot more to the think about in the end.

Yes, I do agree with all those that say, Animals should be free in the wild. I do not feel that we have the right to lock up animals for our own use in this manner. Animals like humans in prison will and do develop mental problems, behavior usually gets worse over time, and nothing good come out of it.

In all my years of going to the zoos I have found few people get any educational value from the visit. No one reads the signs, people past exhibits so fast they miss the animal, and most do not even stop long enough to really take a good look and reflect about the animal they are viewing. Many people spend the day speed walking, dragging one or more child, and wishing they hadnt promised to go to the zoo that day. I dont see must educational value to visitors or a reason to make animals suffer if people act that way.

Then you wonder about the school field trips, yes kids do get to see animals they might never see in the wild. They do hear, at least, some interesting facts about the animals. Do they really learn anything? I doubt it very much, most kids in those groups are too excited to just be free from the burden of school and having to sit still all day they cant pay attention to learning. Did you ever hear anything at the zoo field trips? I never did. Once the kids have a quick run through the zoo, they are fed like cattle and shoved back on a bus. How much educational value did the child get from the trip? I know the teachers would rather be in a pit of live snakes than go on a field trip with ten thousand screaming kids.

The sad thing is the adults really. Going to the zoo all the time, I have over heard some very interesting conversations between adults. Things said that convince me that the human race overall has a low IQ. One of the most common things I hear is people seeing a mother and her baby, and then calling the mother a he. I didnt know males got pregnant (No, I didnt forget about certain species, we dont want to get that complicated here).

Often adults cannot even pronounce the name of the animal. They usually get by calling it whatever name they know close to it. I can understand the Latin scientific names can be pretty hard, but Orangutan does not have a g at the end of it. Yes, the little things can lead to much bigger problems. How can you care about an animal to help save it from them becoming extinct (which we are causing), which probably has a higher IQ than you, if you cant even pronounce the name us humans gave to it?

What is the educational value of the zoo to the overall human population; Very little, in my opinion.

There are however, those cases and individuals from which the lack of a zoo might not have made them into the person they are today. Those people are now on the leading forefront of trying to save from the human race the very right for these animals to exist. So while most people get little to no educational value, hopefully just enough seeds are sparked to keep anymore animals from going extinct.

Do I like seeing a Polar Bear in a cage? No, but if it sparks enough people to help save all the polar bears from extinction at the hand of the human race then it is worth it. We can however make that Polar Bears life active, interesting, and fulfilling.

So what do we do now? Do we close all the zoos and set the animals free in the wild? Do we design the zoo a bit better forcing people to learn? The last time I looked, almost every sign at the zoo had the word Endangered on it. Oh well, after all the animals go extinct, man will be next. - 32185

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here