Zoos are businesses that breed, buy, and sell animals—and they typically do little to help conservation efforts. Their main priority is attracting visitors, not animal welfare. Zoo enclosures are extremely cramped compared to the massive spaces that most animals were meant to thrive in. Animals in captivity are often prevented from doing most of the things that make them happy and healthy, including running, roaming, flying, climbing, foraging, choosing a partner, and being with others of their own kind.
Once animals get older and outgrow their “cuteness,” zoos routinely trade, loan, sell, or barter them because they don’t bring in crowds like baby animals do. Zoos are also notorious for dumping unwanted animals and acquiring new ones from the wild. Just recently, 17 young elephants were torn from their homes in Swaziland and shipped to zoos in Dallas, Omaha, and Wichita.It’s no wonder these animals are pissed off!
Check out these videos, which prove that animals hate being kept captive:
Gorilla Charges and Breaks Glass
This could have been deadly for humans and animals.
Lion Claws at Enclosure
This lion clearly did not want to play games.
Beluga Startles Children
Aquariums, like zoos, imprison intelligent animals. Although the children laugh around the 51-second mark when the beluga lunges toward the glass, a beluga behavior expert told The Dodo that this was a display of aggression from the whale.
Animals don’t need to be aggressive to show us that they are suffering in captivity. Many literally lose their minds—a heart-breaking condition called “zoochosis.” Animals with zoochosis engage in repetitive behavior such as swaying and pacing, like these animals:
Animals in zoos may also mutilate themselves, become overly aggressive, and engage in other abnormal behavior that isn’t seen in nature.
What You Can Do
Sad situations like these are caused by the stress of captivity. But the good news is that it’s easy to help! All you have to do is stop going to places that use animals for entertainment, and tell your friends and family to stay away, too. If you want to see animals up close, visit a sanctuary that’s accredited by the the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.