Animals are the life and soul of this planet: the stunning, mysterious creatures that populate the world alongside humans. We are the species that conquered the rest of the animal kingdom – but was that the right thing to do? Even before this week’s article by Leslie Kaufman, “To Save Some Species, Zoos Must Let Others Die”, I was aware of the fact that the Earth is slowly dying, and animals are suffering with it, plummeting in numbers and in danger of disappearing with no hope of ever returning. Nowadays, people tell us to ‘save the world’, but this world has been destroyed by our own hands. Would attempting to rescue the remaining population of animals be a chance to earn our forgiveness?
Zookeepers are now called as reinforcements to aid scientists, sheltering endangered animals and keeping them comfortable in the man-made environment they had been moved to for safety. The breeding of animals is also occurring, raising hope for I think the biggest message zoos are trying to send – by revealing their hidden shelters and labs of rescued animals – is that humans are finally starting to care about the world and how to respect the wildlife that belongs here just as rightfully as we do.
Even though cruel decisions have to be made in order to preserve animals, I believe that these decisions are necessary. If people tried to save them all at once, there’d be a tiny chance of actual success. By focusing on animals more likely to survive, more chances are that the species would survive. ‘All sorts of criteria are considered, including uniqueness, level of endangerment in the wild, importance of the animal’s ecological role, and whether there is an adequate population in captivity for effective breeding.‘
When I was a child, I never truly enjoyed going to the zoo, since I hated seeing pandas and gorillas roaming their cages in loneliness. Little did I know that zoos would become the lifesavers and protectors of wildlife, and that changed my past perspective of them completely. ‘The increasingly difficult challenge is to be a force for conservation while continuing to put on a show.’ This line from the article stood out from all the rest, since it was the truth shoved right before our eyes. The zoos would surely have to multitask frantically, attempting to preserve endangered animals while still staying a form of public entertainment for demanding humans.
My only questions now are: how did humans develop minds that believe we can simply rule over everything in the first place? Why did we realize our wrong acts just a little too late? Animal extinction is an enormous issue – but it never would have been so if we hadn’t been the ones who caused it. The article I read didn’t come as a surprise to me, but nevertheless, I felt guilty about considering it less important than my own personal problems. Is this mainly because I’m human, too?