TED Conversations

Derek Smith

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

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?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 8 2012: I think zoos should put a little more emphasis on conserving animals outside. It would be really cool if they could focus less on displaying "exotic" animals and focus more on showing/conserving "exotic because they are endangered" animals. I don't know a lot about zoo regulations, but the showcasing of animals for money seems a little ethically sketchy . Zoos probably need the money to fund conservation and conservation probably requires captive breeding (that can be exhibited for money), so they should combine the two aspects a little better. Showing real conservation practices is probably more educational than creating hokey themed exhibits.
    • thumb
      Jun 8 2012: I really like the point you are making and I agree with you. It also seems like so many zoos focus on the same species and wherever you go to a zoo you are learning about the same types of animals (lions, tigers, elephants, ect). It would be nice if Zoos could educate the public on lesser known endangered species and animals that do not normally get a lot of attention but play important roles in their ecosystems.
      • thumb
        Jun 8 2012: They could even take it a step further and exhibit more local threatened and endanged plants and animals. Obviously it would be somewhat illogical to have an entire zoo devoted to this flora and fauna, but I think it's a area that is severly lacking and could be a worthwile exhibit.
        • thumb
          Jun 8 2012: You could have part of the zoo being the typical enclosure park, but then also providing a more open-range system farther away. Perhaps having a taxi or bus system to get to it. This would also help solve the issues of zoos and their lack of space, since many zoos are located within cities.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.