Essay On Animals In Captivity

“ISIS data indicates that 82 percent of new mammals are now born in captivity, along with 64 percent of birds and a majority of reptile species. ” (ISIS). Animals in captivity is something that people have been around their whole lives. Animals in zoos for instance. Children take field trips to the zoo all the time. They walk around in groups looking at these animals in cages, taking pictures with them while they are behind bars. This is just something that humans have grown used to and are ok with. However, does that necessarily make it ok?

According to CAPS, Captive Animals’ Protection Society, “Wild animals in zoos suffer physically and mentally as their complex social, behavioural and physical needs cannot be met in unnatural man made environments. ” Physically, animals are not given enough space in zoos. Nothing will compare to the amount of roaming space animals would have in the wild vs. in their exhibits in zoos. According to Friends of Captive Animals, animals need sufficient space to allow for normal movement including running, swimming, or flying both horizontally and vertically according to the type of animal.

Another important factor that is often overlooked is the flooring underneath the animals’ feet. Although wire mesh and concrete are easier to clean, animals need flooring that encourages picking and digging, as they would do in the wild. Natural materials are recommended. Wire mesh and concrete are uncomfortable for the animal. An example of how important this is is shown in the following example: An animal that normally spends its day digging for food needs to be provided with a similar activity in captivity.

For example, food can be hidden in ways that this type of animal would have to find through digging. This type of animal should not be housed on a cement or wire mesh floor, but on wood chips or other material that allows it to engage in its natural digging activity. Friends of Captive Animals also suggests that, “Structures, natural features (shrubs, trees, logs) and other items should provide comfortable shelter from all weather conditions. These features should also allow the animal to escape from public view and, at times, from their cage mates.

The inability to find privacy when needed can lead to chronic stress for the animal. ” Even humans need to have time alone sometimes. Proper temperature, lighting, humidity, cleanliness, and ventilation is also very important for making an exhibit livable for wild animals. For example, nocturnal animals should not be displayed in the bright sunlight during the day. The shelter should also give the animal the option of shade or sun whenever it likes. Humans are the same way.

There are times in which humans wish to be cool and other times in which humans wish to be warm, so this should be easy to understand (FOCA). Another huge problem with zoos is the sanitation and nutritional issues. An animal’s diet of course depends on their species. However something that they all have in common is the need for sanitary water, just like humans. Also, just like humans, animals need a varied diet in sufficient quantities. “Many species have complex (and expensive) nutritional needs that make them unsuitable for housing by small zoo owners or private collectors” (FOCA).

Owners of small zoos need to realize which animals they can have that can be properly cared for according to that zoos’ budget. How the food is given to the animal that is very important. According to FOCA, “Food should be presented in a way that does not encourage aggression among cage-mates as they react to the stimulus of the food being offered. If more than one animal shares a cage, then food needs to be given in such a way as to minimize, ‘feeding stress’ or aggression between the cage mates as they compete for the food.

If possible, aggressive cage mates should be fed in different areas of the enclosure (this assumes the enclosure is big enough to allow for sufficient distance between the animals,) to reduce ‘feeding stress’. ” Mentally, animals suffer in zoos. They’re just plain bored. FOCA uses the word, “enrichment” to describe this topic. Enrichment means interesting activities that relieve boredom and stress. This is essential as signs of mental distress are often observed in confined animals that do not have enough variety and activity in their day.

The zoo keeper can provide ‘enrichment’ through enclosure structures, furnishings and play-objects that encourage natural activities. Different objects that the animals can use as toys can be placed in the enclosure, and should be changed from time to time, to provide an element of surprise and variety. Animal-management practices, such as how food is presented, can also provide enrichment. providing play-objects (toys) and offering food in interesting ways that help the animals cope with the stress of captivity (FOCA).

Dr Georgia Mason from University of Oxford speaking at the BA Festival of Science, stated: “Animals kept in captivity exhibit stereotypic behaviour that is fundamentally similar to that seen in human conditions of autism and schizophrenia… ” Many animals are known to show specific signs that indicate mental illness during their stays in zoos. “Without enrichment captive animals frequently experience a stress response similar to mental illness, which can cause animals to behave abnormally: for example, adopting repetitive, obsessive motions.

These behaviours are called ‘stereotypies’ and indicate that an animal is in distress. ‘Stereotypies’ are obsessive, repetitive movements that have no natural purpose. Pacing, rocking, bar-biting, and self mutilation through excessive chewing, licking, self-biting or feather plucking are examples of ‘stereotypies’. Stress, frustration, and boredom are believed to be major causes of this disturbed behaviour. These behaviours are signs that the animal is in distress” (FOCA).