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Derek Smith

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Do zoos help biodiversity conservation?

Zoos are becoming more aware of the role they can play in preventing species extinction. The California Condor, the black-footed ferret, and the Przewalski’s horse have all been saved from extinction because of zoos. Zoos also aid conservation by inspiring people to learn more about the diversity of life. However for every species saved in a zoo, hundreds if not more will perish outside of zoos. Is the role of the zoo to showcase and educate the public about the organisms they keep in captivity or should they also focus on conservation outside zoo boundaries?

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    Jun 7 2012: I agree with Drew Thompson's comment down below. I also live near a wildlife park in Washington state where visitors drive through the park and get to be in direct contact with animals. Certainly this alone is not a very useful act of conservation, but it gives the public a very hands on chance to interact with and learn about animals. Spreading this kind of public connection to wildlife is critical to the success of conservation movements. Additionally, this park provides the animals with a habitat that better mimics their native environments than a traditional zoo would. Because of this, the animals in the park are likely better able to return to their original environment if release efforts were needed/desired.

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