Aruna Reddy

The role of a modern zoo

   The role of zoos has evolved from being centers dedicated to the collection of animals and the recreation of the public. The duty of a modern zoo is to promote the conservation of species.

To accomplish this is it is necessary to do scientific research, introduce captive breeding programs, and educate the public.

   By creating the zoo a place for recreation, they aim to raise money for the conservation from the public while still aiming to balance the interests of the animals. They achieve this by giving the public a ‘good day out’. Chester Zoo as an example from a recent visit provided the public with an imaginative trip on a monorail and waterbus. Up to £10 of donation price is required to go on the trip and the peak period is between March and November. (1)


Monorail at Chester Zoo (2)

   However in order to balance all of this, a ‘good zoo’ needs the aid of scientific research on all the species. The need for scientific knowledge is growing every year as more and more habitat continues to change. This knowledge is necessary to feed, house and care for the animals to achieve the educational potential of the zoos. A SOCIAL issue is that it is very crucial that the public are taught the importance of not disturbing the animals in the nearby habitat. This would aid their survival after being re introduced into the wild.

   Chester is involved in a student research project which intends to gain information and also educate. A very popular area of this research is enrichment techniques and scientific evaluation of their effectiveness and also visitor impact on the behaviour of zoo animals. (3) A naturalistic behaviour is required for the animals to ensure that they are allowed to survive in the wild. To promote this enrichment activities are introduced to all zoos throughout the world. Enrichment is crucially important as in aims to increase the activity and occurrence of the species and decreases the occurrence of stereotypical behaviour.

This aims to improve breeding success and conservation efforts by housing animals in appropriate social groups that allow for normal physical and psychological development.  (4)

Captive Breeding in Zoos

   The main responsibility of a zoo is recognised to be Captive breeding, as said above.

   A large number of animal populations are under threat due to the increasing size of the human population and our exploitation of the natural environment. An ENVIRONMENTAL issue could be the interference of the public with natural habitat. If the human population stopped interfering with the natural environment, home for many animals, the chance of survival after reintroduction would be more successful. However this is always difficult as habitat restoration often conflicts with the SOCIAL and ECONOMIC needs of local human population. SOCIAL needs of the human population could highlight the fact that animals can sometimes be pests. This is seen as a major problem as the animal may equally be as disturbing as would humans. Captive breeding aims to make reintroduction possible by breeding endangered animals in captive sites, in hope to release them back into the wild. However this can sometimes be successful and also quite possibly unsuccessful. (5)  

Join now!

Genetic Diversity

   Captive breeding also aims to maintain genetic diversity which can be lost by random genetic drift. Genetic diversity represents a variation of DNA within cells. During asexual reproduction, off spring inherit alleles from both parents which might be slightly different. Large populations will usually have a greater diversity of alleles compared to small populations. This diversity indicates a greater potential for evolution of new combinations of genes and a greater capacity for evolutionary adaptation to different habitats. In other words, the population would be fitter. (9)

A number of factors faced by conservation breeding programs ...

This is a preview of the whole essay