Animals In Captivity Versus The WildCircuses, zoos,  and many other enclosures have harbored wild animals for generations upon generations. However, little is it known to a majority of the public why these facilities and recreational uses behind holding wild animals should not be encouraged is the damaging effects it brings.  The purpose and justifications for capturing these wild animals in such places ultimately leading to so much abuse and psychological damage for the encaptured animals? Entertainment and money. The captivity of large animals in zoos and aquariums is cruel and immoral because the natural instincts and behaviors of the animals have been corrupted and the treatment of the animals has turned to abuse; animals are now seen as entertainers, not wild beings.                 Large animals that are born in the wild and then captured to live in zoos suffer from psychological problems attempting to cope with being in a much smaller environment. From being in a small space, the animals develop stress and anger issues resulting in violence and acting out towards their handlers. Large animals are used to being in wide-open land and are free to go wherever they please. Being put in a small space for twenty-four hours every day is a massive shift from being out in the wild.  A 2003 study by Ros, Clubb, and Mason, of Oxford University found that large carnivores kept in zoos exhibited pacing, shaking of the head, and other behaviors that were indicators of psychological and emotional stress resulting from the species’ inability to follow their natural migration and roaming patterns (P. 473). In 2012, a tiger escaped its enclosure at the Cologne Zoo in Germany, killing a Zookeeper. The zoo’s director reluctantly had to have the tiger killed before it encountered visitors in other areas (“Tiger Escapes”). The tiger, taken from its natural habitat and put into unknown territory, experienced the anxiety that led to it lashing out and escaping from its small enclosure. Unlike dog and cat breeders, who have their animals domesticated since birth, the animals in zoos are not domesticated. At the Tiger Safari in Oklahoma and Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia, they buy cubs that are forcibly removed from their mothers at birth and use them for people to take pictures with. Once the cubs become too big they sell them off to illegal trades and receive new cubs. These cubs are purposely malnourished so they can cooperate during photo sessions and not lash out (“Undercover Investigations”). Animals bred in the wild and taken to live in zoos pose as a threat for the handlers and also the audience. As hard as trainers may try to suppress the animal’s natural instincts, the animal will do as they please.        Animal abuse in aquariums has accumulated more attention, especially with the controversial documentary Black Fish, which gives insight on the orca whales that perform in the shows put on by SeaWorld. The documentary shows that the whales do not belong in a fishbowl. Whales roam up one hundred miles a day hunting prey and interacting with pod mates in the wild (“Confinement of”). At SeaWorld, the whales are often alone or with an insufficient amount to be a pod. Pods are also not possible in captivity because they have no prey to catch and nowhere to go. The idea of domesticating whales is scary and is not possible despite how hard trainers try to they are not pets. This is backed with several instructor deaths and injuries to the trainers that work with the gargantuan marine animals. The death of Dawn Brancheau a trainer at SeaWorld by an orca whale named Tilikum lead to an investigation on whether the whales should be in captivity or in the ocean. More evidence revealed fishermen hired by SeaWorld would capture baby orca whales from their mothers and hand them off to staff that would rip their teeth out with a power drill. By informing the public through documentaries like Blackfish, the patrons of SeaWorld can think twice about visiting and receive information on how to help fight for better care and treatment of the whales.         Though there are several negatives about animals being in captivity, there are some benefits to mention. If an endangered species’ numbers are critically low, zoos will help breed the endangered beings to keep the species from dying out (“Animal Facts File”). Pandas are a vulnerable species that when a cub is born it has all the support and more to keep it alive and healthy. Breeding programs focus on breeding animals that face extinction. This means captivity is the only chance some species have at survival. In captivity, scientists can study the animals and figure out ways to better improve their prosperity. Tests and studies help to better understand the animal’s mannerisms and genetics. By doing so, it aids in creating new methods of treatment. Despite the efforts to better understand large animals by placing them in captivity, the wild is still where these creatures belong. Research is possible while the animals are in the wild. However, the research  just takes more effort on the scientist’s side to enter the animal’s domain and carry out their research in the wild.It is no secret that large animals ultimately belong in their natural habitat, the wild. Captivity is no place for a large animal to be, they are too big resulting in physical and psychological effects. The animals do not deserve the abuse they are put through. Unfortunately, they cannot communicate with humans if they are hurting or not. Large animals should be in the wild, living through their life cycle without the disruption of humans. There are organizations and websites like www.peta.org and www.humanesociety.org that educate the public on what really goes on behind the scenes of zoos and aquariums. These websites were made to affect the reader, change their point of view, and motivate them to make a difference in the animal’s lives. Abusing and affecting the large animals in harmful ways is cruel and immoral, if something is not done more animals will suffer in silence with no way to fend for themselves.

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