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Derek Smith

TEDCRED 50+

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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 8 2012: Zoos do educate people about some of the unique organisms this planet has. Furthermore, individuals may take an active role in conserving an organism if they are actually able to see it in person. However, zoos need to focus on conservation outside of the boundaries for a variety of reasons. If the natural population of an organism goes extinct and there are only captive animals remaining, the zoo population will not have the genetic diversity needed to survive in captivity for very long. Therefore, it's important for zoos to educate the public and help conserve the animals they hold in captivity.

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